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The Wishing Year: A House, a Man, My Soul - A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire

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The Wishing Year: A House, a Man, My Soul - A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire Cover

ISBN13: 9781400064854
ISBN10: 1400064856
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

One New Years Day, Noelle Oxenhandler took stock of her life and found that she was alone after a long marriage, seemingly doomed to perpetual house rental and separated from the spiritual community that once had sustained her. With little left to lose, she launched a years experiment in desire, forcing herself to take the plunge and try the path of Putting It Out There. It wasnt easy. A skeptic at heart, and a practicing Buddhist as well, Oxenhandler had grown up with a strong aversion to mixing spiritual and earthly matters. Still, she suspended her doubts and went for it all: a new love, a healed soul, and the 2RBD/1.5 BA of her dreams. Thus began her initiation into the art of wishing brazenly.

In this charming, compelling, and ultimately joyful book, Oxenhandler records a journey that is at once comic and poignant, light and dark, earthy and spiritual. Along the way she wonders: Does wishing have power? Is there danger in wishing? Are some wishes more worthy than others? And what about the ancient link between suffering and desire? To answer her questions, she delves into the history of wishing, from the rain dance and deer song of primeval magic to modern beliefs about mind over matter, prosperity consciousness, and the law of attraction.

As the months go by, Oxenhandler is humbled to discover the courage it takes to make a wish and thus open oneself to the unknown. She is surprised when her experiment expands to include other people and other places in ways she never imagined. But most of all, she is amazed to find that there is, indeed, both power and danger in the act of wishing. For soon her wishes begin to come true–in ways that meet, subvert, and overflow her expectations. And what started as a years dare turns into a way of life.

A delightfully candid memoir, unfettered, poetic, and ripe with discovery, Oxenhandlers journey into the art and soul of wishing will inspire even the most skeptical reader to search the skies for the next shooting star.

Praise for THE WISHING YEAR

"This is a wonderful book, full of wisdom gleaned from a year of Noelle Oxenhandler's daring to embrace what she had previously denied herself--her own personal wishes. I highly recommend The Wishing Year for anyone wanting to learn more about what life has to offer when we pay attention to our heart's desires."

Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big Life

"Do you want to know how wishes come true? Then read The Wishing Year. It's a book that beautifully illuminates the art and mystery of wishing--and it does so in a way that is inspiring, funny, serious, honest, heartfelt, and irresistibly readable."

–Jack Kornfield, author of After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

"The Wishing Year is an elegant exploration of the way thought shapes reality. Writing with great personal honesty and candor, Noelle Oxenhandler's exhilarating prose takes us deep into the pain and glory of being human."

–Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Open to Desire

“Oxenhandler's new book makes it okay to be a smart, sophisticated grow-up who also believes in magic. She dives beneath the new age veneer and deconstructs how wishes really come true.” –Susan Piver, author of How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life

Review:

"The year she turned 50, Oxenhandler (The Eros of Parenthood) deeply longed for three things: a house, a man and spiritual healing. This memoir tells of her 12-month attempt to fulfill these longings while reflecting on 'the quintessentially human act of wishing,' with all its power and pitfalls. She goes house hunting, visits places of spiritual sanctuary and nurtures a new relationship — all while struggling to overcome her tendency to be a 'terrible wish snob' who balks at the notion of voicing worldly and altruistic wishes together in the same breath, of mixing the profane and the divine more generally. She considers wishing in its broader contexts: mythology, American history, folktales, theology, superstition, philosophy, New Age and psychology. Her philosophy/religious-studies education, guilt-prone sensibility (she's half-Jewish and was raised Catholic) and 30-year history as a practicing Buddhist complicate her careful study and make for a smart read. Oxenhandler does little to resolve or even fully explore the crises that set her on her quest (seven years earlier, an affair ended her marriage as well as her place in her spiritual community), and her pat conclusions hardly match the strength of the work as a whole. Nonetheless, readers will enjoy watching Oxenhandler realize her dreams through diligence, hard work and a 'willing suspension of disbelief' in the captivating magic of wishing. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Noelle Oxenhandler, author of "The Wishing Year," sounds like a nice lady, and I admire the openheartedness and audacity with which she explores the possibility that wishes — made hard enough and smart enough — can come true. Her wishes, during the year this memoir chronicles, are to find a man, own a house and heal her soul. My wishes range from achieving peace on Earth to having a flat stomach.... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

One New Year's Day, Noelle Oxenhandler took stock of her life and found that she was alone after a long marriage, seemingly doomed to perpetual house rental and separated from the spiritual community that once had sustained her. With little left to lose, she launched a year's experiment in desire, forcing herself to take the plunge and try the path of Putting It Out There. It wasn't easy. A skeptic at heart, and a practicing Buddhist as well, Oxenhandler had grown up with a strong aversion to mixing spiritual and earthly matters. Still, she suspended her doubts and went for it all: a new love, a healed soul, and the 2RBD/1.5 BA of her dreams. Thus began her initiation into the art of wishing brazenly.

In this charming, compelling, and ultimately joyful book, Oxenhandler records a journey that is at once comic and poignant, light and dark, earthy and spiritual. Along the way she wonders: Does wishing have power? Is there danger in wishing? Are some wishes more worthy than others? And what about the ancient link between suffering and desire? To answer her questions, she delves into the history of wishing, from the rain dance and deer song of primeval magic to modern beliefs about mind over matter, prosperity consciousness, and the law of attraction.

As the months go by, Oxenhandler is humbled to discover the courage it takes to make a wish and thus open oneself to the unknown. She is surprised when her experiment expands to include other people and other places in ways she never imagined. But most of all, she is amazed to find that there is, indeed, both power and danger in the act of wishing. For soon her wishes begin to come true-in ways that meet, subvert, and overflow her expectations. And what started as a year's dare turns into a way of life.

A delightfully candid memoir, unfettered, poetic, and ripe with discovery, Oxenhandler's journey into the art and soul of wishing will inspire even the most skeptical reader to search the skies for the next shooting star.

Praise for THE WISHING YEAR

This is a wonderful book, full of wisdom gleaned from a year of Noelle Oxenhandler's daring to embrace what she had previously denied herself--her own personal wishes. I highly recommend The Wishing Year for anyone wanting to learn more about what life has to offer when we pay attention to our heart's desires.

-Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big Life

Do you want to know how wishes come true? Then read The Wishing Year. It's a book that beautifully illuminates the art and mystery of wishing--and it does so in a way that is inspiring, funny, serious, honest, heartfelt, and irresistibly readable.

-Jack Kornfield, author of After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

The Wishing Year is an elegant exploration of the way thought shapes reality. Writing with great personal honesty and candor, Noelle Oxenhandler's exhilarating prose takes us deep into the pain and glory of being human.

-Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Open to Desire

Oxenhandler's new book makes it okay to be a smart, sophisticated grow-up who also believes in magic. She dives beneath the new age veneer and deconstructs how wishes really come true. -Susan Piver, author of How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life

Synopsis:

One New Year’s Day, Noelle Oxenhandler took stock of her life and found that she was alone after a long marriage, seemingly doomed to perpetual house rental and separated from the spiritual community that once had sustained her. With little left to lose, she launched a year’s experiment in desire, forcing herself to take the plunge and try the path of Putting It Out There. It wasn’t easy. A skeptic at heart, and a practicing Buddhist as well, Oxenhandler had grown up with a strong aversion to mixing spiritual and earthly matters. Still, she suspended her doubts and went for it all: a new love, a healed soul, and the 2RBD/1.5 BA of her dreams. Thus began her initiation into the art of wishing brazenly.

In this charming, compelling, and ultimately joyful book, Oxenhandler records a journey that is at once comic and poignant, light and dark, earthy and spiritual. Along the way she wonders: Does wishing have power? Is there danger in wishing? Are some wishes more worthy than others? And what about the ancient link between suffering and desire? To answer her questions, she delves into the history of wishing, from the rain dance and deer song of primeval magic to modern beliefs about mind over matter, prosperity consciousness, and the law of attraction.

As the months go by, Oxenhandler is humbled to discover the courage it takes to make a wish and thus open oneself to the unknown. She is surprised when her experiment expands to include other people and other places in ways she never imagined. But most of all, she is amazed to find that there is, indeed, both power and danger in the act of wishing. For soon her wishes begin to come true–in ways that meet, subvert, and overflow her expectations. And what started as a year’s dare turns into a way of life.

A delightfully candid memoir, unfettered, poetic, and ripe with discovery, Oxenhandler’s journey into the art and soul of wishing will inspire even the most skeptical reader to search the skies for the next shooting star.

About the Author

Noelle Oxenhandler is the author of two previous nonfiction books, A Grief Out of Season and The Eros of Parenthood. Her essays have appeared in many national and literary magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Vogue, Tricycle, Parabola, Utne Reader, and O: The Oprah Magazine. She has taught in the graduate writing program at Sarah Lawrence College and is a member of the creative writing faculty at Sonoma State University in California. A practicing Buddhist for more than thirty years, Oxenhandler is the mother of a grown daughter and lives in Northern California.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Teresa Lowe, July 13, 2008 (view all comments by Teresa Lowe)
I loved The Wishing Year! I found it a beautifully written exploration of wishing for your heart’s desire, shining with intelligence and gentle humor. In this wonderful book, Noelle Oxenhandler leads readers on an engaging and enlightening journey through her yearlong experiment with wishing. Oxenhandler is not one to easily embrace New Age ideas or magical thinking, and wishing does not come naturally to her. In order to begin making shrines and sending messages to the universe about what she most wants in her life, Oxenhandler must confront what she calls her “skeptical bent and…tilt toward a certain pessimistic melancholy,” along with a Jewish-Catholic upbringing and many years as a practicing Buddhist. But as she begins her first tentative steps toward manifesting three deep desires — to buy a house of her own, to find a man to love, and to gain spiritual healing — and the universe starts sending pieces of those desires her way, she is hooked.

Oxenhandler is remarkably well read, and she gracefully weaves myth, religion, anthropology, and psychology into the story of her own experiences. Equally at home with Zen Buddhist principles, the philosophy of magic, and the archetypal meaning of Aunt Jemima, Oxenhandler draws readers along on an inner and outer voyage whose landscape includes her own resistance and bouts of despair, the hot springs of Northern California, and healing encounters in Hawaii, Mexico and France.

I found Oxenhandler’s writing beautifully lyrical, filled with passages of luminous intelligence and moments of impish humor. Her story made me think about my own travels away from skepticism, which began 22 years ago when I left the East Coast — where I’d spent many years studying philosophy in Ivy League universities — to settle in Northern California, where the world seemed so much wider and filled with so many more possibilities than I’d previously imagined. After finishing Oxenhandler’s book, though, I can tell I haven’t ranged far enough. I think I may need to go out and buy some joint compound and balsa wood, to start building a few shrines of my own!

One caveat: I suspect that some readers may wish for a deeper level of personal revelation, may want to know the gory details behind crises that Oxenhandler refers to almost in passing — the ending of her marriage or the collapse of her spiritual community that bring the author to the book’s jumping off point. On my reading, the book is not about what about brought her there, but about the journey she makes from that point on. The story begins when Oxenhandler becomes ready to suspend disbelief and give herself over to the project of wishing for her heart’s desire. And that is where the gifts of this lovely book lie — in the story of how your life can change, once you let yourself believe that just maybe, wishing can make it so.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400064854
Subtitle:
A House, a Man, My Soul A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire
Author:
Oxenhandler, Noelle
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Success
Subject:
Desire
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Buddhism - General
Subject:
Success -- Psychological aspects.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Updated and REV
Publication Date:
20080708
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.34x5.86x1.11 in. .89 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Biography
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs

The Wishing Year: A House, a Man, My Soul - A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Random House - English 9781400064854 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The year she turned 50, Oxenhandler (The Eros of Parenthood) deeply longed for three things: a house, a man and spiritual healing. This memoir tells of her 12-month attempt to fulfill these longings while reflecting on 'the quintessentially human act of wishing,' with all its power and pitfalls. She goes house hunting, visits places of spiritual sanctuary and nurtures a new relationship — all while struggling to overcome her tendency to be a 'terrible wish snob' who balks at the notion of voicing worldly and altruistic wishes together in the same breath, of mixing the profane and the divine more generally. She considers wishing in its broader contexts: mythology, American history, folktales, theology, superstition, philosophy, New Age and psychology. Her philosophy/religious-studies education, guilt-prone sensibility (she's half-Jewish and was raised Catholic) and 30-year history as a practicing Buddhist complicate her careful study and make for a smart read. Oxenhandler does little to resolve or even fully explore the crises that set her on her quest (seven years earlier, an affair ended her marriage as well as her place in her spiritual community), and her pat conclusions hardly match the strength of the work as a whole. Nonetheless, readers will enjoy watching Oxenhandler realize her dreams through diligence, hard work and a 'willing suspension of disbelief' in the captivating magic of wishing. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , One New Year's Day, Noelle Oxenhandler took stock of her life and found that she was alone after a long marriage, seemingly doomed to perpetual house rental and separated from the spiritual community that once had sustained her. With little left to lose, she launched a year's experiment in desire, forcing herself to take the plunge and try the path of Putting It Out There. It wasn't easy. A skeptic at heart, and a practicing Buddhist as well, Oxenhandler had grown up with a strong aversion to mixing spiritual and earthly matters. Still, she suspended her doubts and went for it all: a new love, a healed soul, and the 2RBD/1.5 BA of her dreams. Thus began her initiation into the art of wishing brazenly.

In this charming, compelling, and ultimately joyful book, Oxenhandler records a journey that is at once comic and poignant, light and dark, earthy and spiritual. Along the way she wonders: Does wishing have power? Is there danger in wishing? Are some wishes more worthy than others? And what about the ancient link between suffering and desire? To answer her questions, she delves into the history of wishing, from the rain dance and deer song of primeval magic to modern beliefs about mind over matter, prosperity consciousness, and the law of attraction.

As the months go by, Oxenhandler is humbled to discover the courage it takes to make a wish and thus open oneself to the unknown. She is surprised when her experiment expands to include other people and other places in ways she never imagined. But most of all, she is amazed to find that there is, indeed, both power and danger in the act of wishing. For soon her wishes begin to come true-in ways that meet, subvert, and overflow her expectations. And what started as a year's dare turns into a way of life.

A delightfully candid memoir, unfettered, poetic, and ripe with discovery, Oxenhandler's journey into the art and soul of wishing will inspire even the most skeptical reader to search the skies for the next shooting star.

Praise for THE WISHING YEAR

This is a wonderful book, full of wisdom gleaned from a year of Noelle Oxenhandler's daring to embrace what she had previously denied herself--her own personal wishes. I highly recommend The Wishing Year for anyone wanting to learn more about what life has to offer when we pay attention to our heart's desires.

-Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big Life

Do you want to know how wishes come true? Then read The Wishing Year. It's a book that beautifully illuminates the art and mystery of wishing--and it does so in a way that is inspiring, funny, serious, honest, heartfelt, and irresistibly readable.

-Jack Kornfield, author of After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

The Wishing Year is an elegant exploration of the way thought shapes reality. Writing with great personal honesty and candor, Noelle Oxenhandler's exhilarating prose takes us deep into the pain and glory of being human.

-Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Open to Desire

Oxenhandler's new book makes it okay to be a smart, sophisticated grow-up who also believes in magic. She dives beneath the new age veneer and deconstructs how wishes really come true. -Susan Piver, author of How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life

"Synopsis" by , One New Year’s Day, Noelle Oxenhandler took stock of her life and found that she was alone after a long marriage, seemingly doomed to perpetual house rental and separated from the spiritual community that once had sustained her. With little left to lose, she launched a year’s experiment in desire, forcing herself to take the plunge and try the path of Putting It Out There. It wasn’t easy. A skeptic at heart, and a practicing Buddhist as well, Oxenhandler had grown up with a strong aversion to mixing spiritual and earthly matters. Still, she suspended her doubts and went for it all: a new love, a healed soul, and the 2RBD/1.5 BA of her dreams. Thus began her initiation into the art of wishing brazenly.

In this charming, compelling, and ultimately joyful book, Oxenhandler records a journey that is at once comic and poignant, light and dark, earthy and spiritual. Along the way she wonders: Does wishing have power? Is there danger in wishing? Are some wishes more worthy than others? And what about the ancient link between suffering and desire? To answer her questions, she delves into the history of wishing, from the rain dance and deer song of primeval magic to modern beliefs about mind over matter, prosperity consciousness, and the law of attraction.

As the months go by, Oxenhandler is humbled to discover the courage it takes to make a wish and thus open oneself to the unknown. She is surprised when her experiment expands to include other people and other places in ways she never imagined. But most of all, she is amazed to find that there is, indeed, both power and danger in the act of wishing. For soon her wishes begin to come true–in ways that meet, subvert, and overflow her expectations. And what started as a year’s dare turns into a way of life.

A delightfully candid memoir, unfettered, poetic, and ripe with discovery, Oxenhandler’s journey into the art and soul of wishing will inspire even the most skeptical reader to search the skies for the next shooting star.

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