Ronna Kabatznick: Reflections from a Tsunami Psychologist

For those of us who live in earthquake prone places, it’s been drilled into our heads what to do when we feel the first signs of the earth moving.  If you’re indoors, drop and cover, get under the nearest table or desk, cover your head and stay clear of exterior walls, glass and heavy furniture.  If you’re outside, stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.  And when it’s over, hopefully you have that earthquake kit to provide you with food, water, clothing and medical supplies to hold you over until the power comes back on, help is on the way, and order is restored.

But what happens if you’re not trained to know the early warning signs of an impending disaster?  What happens when there are no protocols, or procedures or plans in place to mitigate the potential for danger, destruction, injury and death?  And what happens when instead of taking cover, protecting yourself and your loved ones, the early warning signs are ignored, disaster strikes and there is no disaster plan in place to fall back on as chaos reigns?

What happens if you are called upon to be a companion and support to survivors seized by overwhelming loss amid complete chaos, massive deaths, destruction and unimaginable grief and despair?

And what happens to your psyche, and spirit?  How do you ultimately make sense of this to find your own inner peace, acceptance and trust in life?

My guest this week on KOWS, Wise Woman Storytime, is social psychologist and author of Who by Water: Reflections of a Tsunami Psybhologist (and other books), Ronna Kabatznick.  Listen to this most difficult and tragic story. Learn how through Ronna’s deeply held Jewish and Buddhist beliefs and practices, she was able to give selfless compassion and support to those in need and how she continues to emerge as a different woman with a renewed appreciation for living, a deep respect for the fragility of life and an appreciation and acceptance of the absolute impermanence of life.

There are lessons here for all of us.

By Roberta Teller


Elaine B. Holtz: 70 Years Old and a New Look at Life



As my guest this week on Wise woman Stortytime, Elaine B Holtz was facing her 70th birthday, she was not in a good place. Despite a successful career in sales and marketing, a loving daughter and grandchildren and a life partner she deeply loved, something was missing. Despite a life dedicated to social and political activism, and a long list of appointments to local boards and commissions, the luster was draining from her usual bright outlook on life. This 70th birthday was being met with a sense of sadness, grief and loss about her aging self.  Who was she? Who loved her and now what?

For those who have survived a near death experience or had a close call with death, most report the experience as life changing and truly transformational. This was certainly true for Elaine. When a life threatening illness threatened her very existence; when she became paralyzed and completely dependent upon others, Elaine wound up fighting for her life and gave birth to  the best ever gift – a renewed appreciation for life – especially her own……..

By Roberta Teller


Batja Cates: Tuning into and Trusting our Inner Voice



When was the last time you knew who was calling you, before you heard the phone ring?  When was the last time you stopped to listen to that inner voice that was beckoning you? When was the last time you broke from tradition, the expected,  and went off in a completely different course because you had a hunch or a gut feeling that pulled you in a new direction? And when was the last time you absolutely trusted that inner voice you KNEW was speaking the absolute truth?

This week’s on KOWS  Wise Woman Storytime we  explore the topic of intuition – that experience of knowing something even though you have no idea of how or why you know it.   Batja Cates shares her personal story of how through a series of synchronistic events, she was propelled into the practice of imaginal inner guidance work without any formal training or prior experience.  Trusting her natural ability to evoke spontaneous imagery in her clients, Batja successfully assisted her clients through the use of imagery as they faced serious illnesses and surgical procedures.

Some of the greatest minds affirm the power of intuition and the importance of heeding its voice.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and  the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

While it is debated if Albert Einstein or Bob Samples (scholar, artist, author or visionary) said this, I think we can all agree that this quote really addresses how we prioritize and allow left brain rational thinking to dominate over the still, quietude of right brain awareness.

Listening to Batja’s story has helped me get back in touch with the treasure trove of opportunities, insights and gifts that become available to me when I let go of the busyness and noise of the outside world and tune into my heart and intuition.

I have a hunch there’s some really good stuff here for you.


By Roberta Teller