STEELE’S "SADIE LISTENS" EXPLORES DEPTHS OF GRIEF AND HEALING | PostIndependent.com
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STEELE’S "SADIE LISTENS" EXPLORES DEPTHS OF GRIEF AND HEALING

Some stories just need to be told.

For Glenwood Springs author James Steele, his newly published book, “Sadie Listens: An Inward Journey,” is a deceptively simple story. Written and illustrated by Steele, it is the story of how a young girl deals with the death of her beloved cat. She tries to distract herself from her loss. After several unsuccessful attempts, she goes within herself to restore her emotional balance.

Steele will sign his book from 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Red Mountain Bookstore in the Glenwood Springs Mall.



Steele, an artist who works in energetic healing, brings years of his own personal growth to the book.

“I’ve experienced hundreds of hours of therapy-facilitated support groups and five years of energetic healing,” he said.



Steele has modeled Sadie’s journey on a self-healing process put forward by Chicago psychologist Eugene Gendlin, called focusing. It is a meditative process of self-awareness that can result in emotional transformation. In body-centered focusing, a person can achieve a deep level of understanding of emotion that leads to acceptance and resolving life issues.

In the story, Sadie tries to lessen her hurt by eating ice cream, an action that therapists call “feeding a feeling,” Steele said. But the feeling comes back. She rides her bike, fast, and takes out all her toys, but the feeling persists.

The feeling, what Steele calls “It” in the book, is still with her.

Then Sadie stands in front of a mirror. She gently faces the feeling, and lets it speak for itself.

Along with the story, Steele has included 21 full page illustrations. At first, Sadie is portrayed in a neutral sepia tone. But when she at last faces the nagging feeling, a rose-colored glow appears on her chest.

“A shift occurs,” Steele said. She listens as “It” tells her how hurt and angry it is over Butch’s death.

Sadie cries and accepts the feeling for what it is.

“They become friends,” Steele said.

And as she does so, the color, the light, comes back into her life.

“I wrote `Sadie Listens’ because I wanted to reaffirm our children’s natural process of owning their feelings,” Steele said. “So many of us move into adulthood creating poor health and social disorder because we’ve lost this ability.”

Through the process of focusing, which Steele models in the book, “we can use our bodies as receptors for the next right step in life. It’s called felt sensing and it’s different than just thinking about something,” he said.

Edwin M. McMahon and Peter A. Campbell, authors of “Beyond the Myth of Dominance,” have said of “Sadie Listens,” “Movingly told. Steele’s ingenious little classic provides a unique glimpse into that moment of transformation when body connections are made and inner worlds unfold.

“`Sadie Listens’ is about re-learning the simple, primal habit of linking with your own body. It is a story about peacemaking from the inside.”

The book is available in Glenwood Springs at the Book Train, Through the Looking Glass, Red Mountain Bookstore, Valley Wellness Centers or online at: http://www.sadielistens.com.


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