Options in Suffering?

Matousek Book

One of the very best books I have read lately casts light on the often dark clouds associated with human suffering. Take a look at this book to build personal resilience for today and tomorrow. Enjoy! I find Mark refreshing and very real!

 When You’re Falling, Dive…Artful Living in Times of Great Change

 Mark Matousek

ISBN 159691369X / 9781596913691 / 1-59691-369-X
Publisher Bloomsbury Pub Plc USA
Language English
Edition Hardcover
List price $24.99

From the Author/Publisher…..

“How people who have suffered trauma find an upside when they’ve gone to the brink-and back again. Do survivors of life’s greatest trials possess a secret knowledge? Is there an art to survival-a map for crossing the wilderness-or daily life? Why do some people blossom through adversity while others stop growing? Drawing on twenty years’ experience in this field, using stories, parable, and scientific data, acclaimed memoirist Mark Matousek gives the first-ever comprehensive look at this mysterious phenomenon of viriditas, the power of drawing passion, beauty, and wisdom from the unlikeliest places. Matousek interviews hundreds of well-known survivors-including Joan Didion, Elie Wiesel, and Isabel Allende-and experts such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jonathan Kozol, and Sogyal Rimpoche. He includes extraordinary testimonials, from a Tibetan nun imprisoned by the Chinese at age eleven and the women of Calama, Chile, digging for their “disappeared,” among countless others. Drawing insight and advice from these many heroic individuals, Matousek presents a chorus of wisdom for how to survive our own lives-the vicissitudes of being human-and prevail.
Notes from O-Magazine:   “After receiving a diagnosis of HIV and, several years later, the equally upending news that after all, he would probably not die of it, Mark Matousek discovered something about riding a spiritual crisis. In this new guidebook to keeping the psyche intact while being spun on life’s roulette wheel, he talks to survivors … as well as experts in brain neuroplasticity and psychological resilience. Through their stories, strategies emerge about how to not only regain equilibrium after a serious hardship but also manage the free floating ‘intuition of hidden yet imminent danger’ that afflicts many of us even in the absence of major trauma.” 
(Note: Deacon Don interviewed Mark by phone on August 27, 2008 at his home in New York.)
Deacon Don:
This is a “textbook” about preparing oneself to become resilient in spirit. The book offers brilliant case studies portraying people making heroic responses with acceptance, embracing their challenges and artistically crafting a unique artistic response. Why are these folks “heroic”?
Oh my, they would bristle if anybody would be cliché and give them that title. Yes, they have gone deep within to draw from character and resourcefulness in response to a fall. Yes, they are like artists who take a canvas and create, use tools and imagination and express their inner hope and depth. Each of us has latent abilities that can be called forth.
Deacon Don:
Can a person become intentionally prepared to become resilient when their day comes to test their inner spirit?
Absolutely, that is the essence of my challenge. Read, prepare, reflect and realize the temporary quiet of our lives will be broken with inevitable tests. To acknowledge and accept the idea of being thoughtfully preparing is essential.
Deacon Don:
I like the image of your book where you refer to times when adjusting to the vulnerabilities of a fall as you mention the life of a molting lobster to illustrate the process of growth.
Can you expand?
Yes, the hard outer shell must go. During the change process for the lobster, exposed is a tender inner skin that will later harden. Change, transition and metamorphosis are natural processes. Our response to transition can spell the difference between a life of fulfillment and meaning and confusion, maybe even misery. Choices to reach out to those around can make a difference between fate and destiny. I favor those who can gather the inner strength to reach out, grasp realities, not become overwhelmed and bitter, but spend the limited time of life being constructive.
Deacon Don:
Do you think there is a “silver lining club” out there made up of incurable optimists?
Mark: Yes, I like the idea of an intentional pursuit that swims against the stream of hopelessness in favor of being strong and tapping into the spirit that is a relentless drive to rise.
Deacon Don:
Do you think Humpty Dumpty-style-pessimism gets in the way of making the most of a person encountering and forging a persona response to adversity?
Yes, Humpty Dumpty is an at too simple myth that ignores the power of teamwork. Sure, there are many people who like to deny inevitable encounters they will have with suffering. Humpty Dumpty fatalism should become extinct as we evolve into a more resourceful and artistic human community of caring for ourselves and others.
Deacon Don:
Do you have any final suggestions to pass along for our readers about choosing to “dive during the fall of life”?  What is the essence of a good dive?
 “‘When you enter a storm in life, acceptance is the first step in turning a fall into a dive — full acceptance of your circumstances, including painful feelings, in order to move through adversity with grace.  Remember, you cannot transform what you have not first blessed.  Blessing doesn’t necessarily mean liking what’s happening; it means saying yes to life, rather than resisting the tough stuff so that we can learn from our trials.  It’s hard (if not impossible) to learn when we’re shut down, or blinded by anger and fear.  The art of diving (in times of trouble) enables us to penetrate beyond the unpleasant surface of catastrophic change, into the mystery that awaits us underneath. In diving we discover the wisdom hidden inside the darkness; the revelation of having to begin again; the self-renewal that can only arise when we let go our attachments — to the status quo, to what we think we deserve — and make way for what life has in store for us.” 

 Visit Mark at: 

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