Heart-drama is a narrative nonfiction book which steers readers to a pathway of renewal, directing them toward an increasing awareness of Beauty (attunement with others and with the world) and of Truth (our own authenticity).
The author, Ray Holland, is a psychotherapist who draws on decades of clinical experience. He is a visual artist and uses his multimedia paintings to illuminate the text. He also uses personal experience to clarify the material. He teaches that all of us have some deep work to do; however, we resist and seek ways to avoid challenging the limiting stories propagated by our culture and upbringing. We settle for Playing at Love, burdened and outcast, rather than living fully in the garden of Loving-Playfulness. We settle for Working for Love, seeking celebration as a driven employee or finding release as the addict, rather than entering the flow of Loving-Work. We settle for Working for Power, colonizing the experience of others or betraying our humanity as an android, rather than daring intimate connection which elicits our most Powerful-Work. We settle for Playing at Power, destroying what is beautiful and true or becoming a cult-member, rather than entering the mountains of Powerful-Play and the energies arising from a more spiritual awareness. Without doubt, we will find much reinforcement in our traumatized and traumatizing society to skirt the work that might free us. Deep work requires courage and effort, and so this book is not speaking to a reader who is comfortable with the most apparent stories of themselves and of the world around them. Heart-drama does provide a map for healing and personal growth, E.X.P.A.N.D. That is helpful whether we are doing personal work or are in a group setting, but the author warns that a "solution" won't exist at the level of problem-solving or by reasoning alone, or through memorizing a set of instructions or any map that is taken literally. It won't come from thinking our way out of pain and self-deception. though it would be convenient if we could make significant changes while lounging in a comfortable chair or by studying a workbook at our desk or by consuming a drug that immediately changes our chemistry. Any significant and truly valuable turning point from pain toward healing and continued growth requires that we experience the change emotionally, experientially, tap our creativity, and find our way preferably in community.