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Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious and Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion, and Connectedness


A life-limiting illness may have taken hold of your body, but you can still live more fully and openly than ever before. You can enrich your life by exploring ways to make peace with yourself and deepen connections with friends and family. This book will help you reap the benefits of mindfulness and acceptance, one day at a time.

Leaves Falling Gently is a comforting guide to the mindfulness and compassion practices that will help you embrace the present moment, despite your ...

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Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious and Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion, and Connectedne

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A life-limiting illness may have taken hold of your body, but you can still live more fully and openly than ever before. You can enrich your life by exploring ways to make peace with yourself and deepen connections with friends and family. This book will help you reap the benefits of mindfulness and acceptance, one day at a time.

Leaves Falling Gently is a comforting guide to the mindfulness and compassion practices that will help you embrace the present moment, despite your illness. With each simple practice, you’ll deepen your appreciation for the experiences that bring you joy and enhance your capacity for gratitude, generosity, and love. As you work through each personal reflection and guided meditation, you’ll regain the strength to live fully, regardless of the changes and challenges that come.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A friendly introduction to a way of being that can literally and metaphorically give your life back to you."
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author of Full Catastrophe Living and Coming to Our Senses

"Leaves Falling Gently is simply a magnificent guide for all of us on how to stay fully alive even as we approach the inevitable moment of our death. Written with a poet’s eye for incisive clarity and a clinician’s heart for compassionate care, this treasure of a book is a gift for us all. Whether the timing of our life’s ending remains uncertain or the onset of illness has made clear our journey’s end, Susan Bauer-Wu’s clear and loving words provide life-affirming wisdom that will greatly aid the lives of caregivers and care receivers alike. Soak in these transformative words and your life will be greatly enriched, wherever you are in your journey."
—Daniel J. Siegel, MD, executive director of the Mindsight Institute, clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, and author of Mindsight and The Mindful Therapist

"Leaves Falling Gently beautifully combines the wisdom of reflection, the rigor of science, and the beauty of a deeply engaged heart. Susan Bauer-Wu guides readers to live fully and gracefully with serious illness. With gentle clarity, this book offers a wealth of ideas and practices illuminating a way of being that has the power to transform our individual and collective lives."
—Shauna L. Shapiro, PhD, associate professor of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University and coauthor of The Art and Science of Mindfulness

"Susan Bauer-Wu describes how to live fully rather than withdrawing and feeling dread and despair when faced with a life-limiting illness. Leaves Falling Gently empowers readers to achieve peace of mind through mindfulness meditation and gain control over their feelings and relationships. This is a must-read for those individuals confronted with chronic, life-threatening diseases and their families."
—David S. Rosenthal, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and past president of the American Cancer Society

"A powerful book! Susan Bauer-Wu has attacked the problems of life and death. Her book gives concrete solutions to patients and loved ones who need advice. It is an essential book for the living who may be dying. A must-read."
—Zorba Paster, MD, host of On Your Health on Public Radio International

"Leaves Falling Gently offers a direct, compelling, and practical guide to living fully even when facing serious illness. It can help us help our friends and family in the times when we so rarely know how to respond."
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness and Lovingkindness

"Susan Bauer-Wu's book, Leaves Falling Gently, is the most accessible, loving and practical introduction to mindful awareness, compassion, healing and wholeness that I have ever seen. It is a precious gift for anyone who faces (or will face) life-limiting illness and death. She shows us how conditions of illness and dying, often experienced as profoundly limiting, point us to hidden wellsprings of kindness, empathy, gratitude and forgiveness beyond limits. Right through the particulars of our feelings, emotions, and reactions to illness and dying, she brings us home to the deep safety, compassion, and wholeness in the very ground of our being."
—John Makransky, professor of Buddhism and comparative theology at Boston College

"Susan Bauer-Wu writes with the precision of a scientist, vision of a scholar, and pragmatism of someone who cares for others professionally and personally. In Leaves Falling Gently, she has distilled the wisdom of generations of teachers and global traditions into a practical, actionable guide for being well through the most difficult times in human life. Leaves Falling Gently is simple and unpretentious, yet profound. It is, quite simply, a guide to living honestly, fully, soulfully, and joyfully through even the hardest of times. What a gift! Leaves Falling Gently is a treasure—one to be savored and shared."
—Ira Byock, MD, palliative care physician, professor at Dartmouth Medical School, and author of Dying Well and The Four Things That Matter Most

"This important book offers insight and inspiration for all who seek to live life fully, even in the midst of challenges beyond your control. Research, experience, and personal practice blend together to illuminate a unique approach, and Susan’s writing is clearly helpful in connecting us with what matters most."
—Ben Campbell Johnson, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary and author of Companions in Contemplation: Reflections on the Contemplative Path.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572249998
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: Unassigned Series
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 429,389
  • Product dimensions: 7.76 (w) x 6.06 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, integrates her scientific research in mind-body medicine; clinical experience as an oncology, psychiatric, and hospice nurse; and mindfulness meditation practice and teaching to improve the well-being of those affected by medical illnesses and help other health care professionals do the same for their clients. She is the Tussi and John Kluge Endowed Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care at the University Of Virginia School Of Nursing in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the President of the Society for Integrative Oncology. She was formerly Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar and associate professor of nursing at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.
Bauer-Wu is an accomplished researcher and scholar whose work has focused on the effects of chronic stress and the benefits of mindfulness and compassion practices in the face of debilitating illness and other life stress. She has provided significant service and leadership to many national and international organizations, and has earned several esteemed awards. She teaches training programs on mindfulness-based stress reduction and contemplative end-of-life care and facilitates resiliency retreats and workshops for health care professionals, as well as patients and families affected by chronic medical conditions.

Learn more about Bauer-Wu's work at
Foreword writer Joan Halifax, PhD, is a medical anthropologist, Buddhist teacher, and author of Being with Dying and other books. She is founder, abbot, and head teacher at Upaya Zen Center, a Buddhist monastery in Santa Fe, NM, and director of the Upaya Institute. She has served as visiting faculty and lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions throughout the United States and abroad.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Highly recommended

    This book is wonderful. I am getting so much out of it. I highly recommend it for anyone dealing with an illness, even if it's not a life-threatening one as in my case. I'm finding this book such a support. It seems very aligned with the books by Thich Nhat Hanh.

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