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Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears
Synopses & Reviews
In this pithy, inspiring book, Pema Chödrön presents the Buddhist concept of shenpawhich can be translated as “getting stuck” or “getting hooked”and shows us how we can liberate ourselves from it. Shenpa is that irritating sensation that arises in moments when life suddenly becomes disappointing, difficult, or painful. Perhaps someone criticizes your work, your appearance, or your child. Something within you tightens, shuts down. Thats shenpa. After we tighten, we instinctively start to blame ourselves or others. We might get angry and lash out in words or actions. Or we might reach for a cigarette, a drink, or some other addictive substance to numb our pain. Chödrön shows us the way out of these habitual reactions that keep us locked in cycles of suffering.
In Taking the Leap she introduces a new way of responding to moments of shenpa: learning to stay present. Rather than running from lifes hurts, you can actually stop and open your heart, and therein discover courage and compassion. This book presents the “four Rs” of working with shenpa: recognizing it, refraining from acting out against ourselves or others, relaxing with the underlying feelings, and resolving to make this our way of life. With her characteristic warmth and encouragement, Pema Chödrön offers transformational teachings and practices that readers can immediately put to use in their daily lives.
"This gently encouraging book by popular teacher Chdrn (When Things Fall Apart; The Places That Scare You) applies Buddhist wisdom to the problems of deeply ingrained reactions. An American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa, she writes that 'we already have what we need' to change and heal. Chdrn focuses on the preverbal moment — called shenpa in Tibetan — in which individuals are 'hooked' into harmful stories, emotions and actions within the flux of their experiences. Clear descriptions of how this process works are accompanied by simple techniques to begin to break the cycle. Her suggestions can be easily practiced by anyone at any time without meditation training, although she presents the benefits of sitting meditation. With anecdotes from her teachers and examples from her own and others' lives, Chdrn demonstrates that people can stop their suffering and access their natural intelligence, warmth and openness. Throughout, she emphasizes the global implications of personal change. Among her strengths are compassion for the difficulty of human existence and her willingness to acknowledge her own failings. This short guide provides valuable tools for change in uncertain times. (Sept. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
One might imagine that a clinical psychologist and trauma counselor would be unusually self-aware in times of pain and transition, and from that very expert lens comes this healing journey that will leave the reader with tears of sorrow – and laughter. Dr. Gail Feldman may have seen it all before in her patients, but no amount of prior knowledge could prepare her for the impact of a series of bodily and emotional shocks: a divorce after 35 years of marriage, a subsequent relationship that imploded with upending revelations, and a skiing accident that resulted in broken bones and a head injury. Both deeply personal and universally relatable, Dr. Feldman tells not only her own story, but that of the mythological heroine archetype. Midlife Crash Course stands as an inspirational missive for women who have been stopped, stunned, left, lost, wounded – women who wonder what’s next. The climatic endings and ensuing pursuit for new beginnings that characterize midlife journeys are recounted, tussled with, reveled in – uniquely and unflinchingly honest, Dr. Feldman’s latest book is a reminder that as we all suffer, so shall we recover.
Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa. She is resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. She is the author of many books and audiobooks, including the best-selling When Things Fall Apart and Don't Bite the Hook.
About the Author
Dr. Gail Feldman is a clinical psychologist, award-winning author, and dynamic public speaker. She has been featured on radio and television programs across the United States, including Larry King Live, and has given presentations in countries from Puerto Rico to Vietnam on crisis, creativity, and resilience. Dr. Feldman served for twenty-two years as a clinical assistant professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, facilitating conflict resolution with families, and providing psychotherapy for trauma survivors. Her previous books have been praised by such best-selling authors as Ann Rule, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Bernie Siegel, and Lois Duncan. Dr. Feldman was a contributing writer for Current Health Magazine for several years, has authored numerous professional articles, and produced a “Children’s Coping” series of audio tapes to address moments of stress particular to toddlers and young children.
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