CROTON, N.Y. -- Croton author and healing practitioner Jason Elias wrote three previous books on healing, well-being and herbal remedies. His latest project required the most the time, covered the most ground and, ultimately, produced his most satisfying work.
Elias’s book, Kissing Joy As It Flies: A Journey to Healing and Wholeness, is a 434-page memoir that traces healing within his own family. Elias said he started the writing the book for his son, to help him understand the path that led to his career in psychology and alternative medicine. The project proved to be far more complicated than he envisioned, took eight years to produce and brought Elias to roads he barely knew existed.
“My great grandmother was called the ‘Little Doctor’ in Greece,” said Elias, who has run his acupuncture practice, Five Element Healing , in Croton for 30 years. “She was 4 feet, 10 inches tall, and people would go to her for herbs and incantations. She had a reputation for healing people. She was part of a Jewish community, but she worked with Muslims as well. This book follows my path through psychology and my interest in healing around the world.”
Elias explored the world, literally and figuratively, in researching his book. From his studies in the 1960s with three prominent practitioners, who pioneered the practice of body-centered healing, Fritz Perls, Ida Rolf and Ilana Rubenfeld, Elias traveled to the East to learn and work with healing masters in China, Japan, India and the Philippines.
He brings the book back full circle with his father’s move to a tenement in New York, his first American home, and the subsequent evolvement of his own healing practice.
“Each chapter is a story unto itself,’’ said Elias, who self-published the work. “And every chapter has teaching stories through it. It talks a lot about people having the power to heal themselves, and the different modalities. It’s a book of reflection, piecing it together and completing a circle.”
Elias believes it was his family’s heritage, particularly his maternal grandmother, "the little doctor," that led him to his path in alternative medicine and healing. “My grandmother was a herbalist,’’ he said. “I just always had this connection to healing. I never thought I could become a doctor, so I became a psychologist and met all these luminaries. It changed my life. This book is that journey.”
In 24 reviews of the book on Amazon, each reader gave Elias a 5-star rating and wrote glowingly about the book. "Jason is a true healer. He's genuinely interested in the people he works with as well as his own growth and healing ... making him unique in the 'medical field.' He has written this beautiful personal narrative .. letting us into his own journey in healing, research, learning, growing,’’ one reviewer wrote.
Elias said the book took a long time to write as he gathered over 1,000 pages of material and tackled the project in spurts. “It was a bit of mish-mosh,’’ Elias said. “I thought how can I get a thread to pull this together. It started out as a book for my son and my family. It turned out to be something far more.”
Elias’s book parallels his career in alternative medicine. He started his career studying psychology, and then moved into acupuncture and other healing modalities. He has worked with leaders in the fields of the Alexander technique, massage therapy, Bioenergetic therapy, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, and with masters in Japan, Hong Kong and India.
“I don’t like calling myself a healer,’’ Elias said. “I feel like I’m more like a midwife than a healer. It’s really a process of self-discovery. I just try to make healing accessible.”
After more than four decades in the field, Elias still enjoys his work with clients. He discovered his passion early in his career, and it continues to burn.
“I tell people if they didn’t pay me, I’d have to pay them,’’ he said. “I use the word resonant. I found the path that is resonant with me.”