Roll Around Heaven: An All-True Accidental Spiritual Adventure


Chronicling nearly two decades of Jessica Maxwell's all-true accidental spiritual adventure and fillled with astonishing stories, witty insights, and breathtaking revelations, Roll Around Heaven will surely inspire each reader to embrace the power of the divine in his or her own life.

An adventure writer by trade, Jessica had never given God a second thought until, as she describes it, "He/She/It grabbed me by the ear, marched me into the divine principal's office, and told me ...

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Roll Around Heaven: An All-True Accidental Spiritual Adventure

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Chronicling nearly two decades of Jessica Maxwell's all-true accidental spiritual adventure and fillled with astonishing stories, witty insights, and breathtaking revelations, Roll Around Heaven will surely inspire each reader to embrace the power of the divine in his or her own life.

An adventure writer by trade, Jessica had never given God a second thought until, as she describes it, "He/She/It grabbed me by the ear, marched me into the divine principal's office, and told me to quit goofing off and start paying attention." On her amazing journey, Jessica travels the globe on magazine sporting assignments, only to end up talking about God with Islamic women in Dubai, chasing away evil spirits in a Himalayan hotel, and receiving Celtic revelations on the holy isle of Iona.

Jessica soon learns that her earthbound goals are mere day hikes compared to her soaring ascent to heaven on earth. Spiced with humor, rich with original insight, tart with irreverence, and sweetened with compassion for the modern pilgrim, Roll Around Heaven offers readers a perfect recipe for spiritual success in a chronically baffling world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Forget about searching for the divine only in dusty old churches. In Roll Around Heaven, Jessica Maxwell proves you can stumble into a state of grace in a baseball stadium, on a pig farm, or even while lumbering down a freeway." DAVID OLIVER RELIN, author of Three Cups of Tea

"What a fabulous journey! Through Jessica's eyes and voice it is just pure magic!" TAJ MAHAL, American bluesman

"After you've been there and done that, it's time to figure out what it all means. Jessica Maxwell applies her deceptively light touch to the idea of spiritual seeking. Highly recommended." TIM CAHILL, author of Hold the Enlightenment and Lost in My Own Backyard

Publishers Weekly
Successful magazine travel writer Maxwell didn't intend to write a book about spirituality. The author of books on golf, fishing and other nature adventures claimed an “allergy to religion,” yet spirituality seemed to find her anyway. After stumbling upon a lovable pig farmer/spiritual teacher, the self-proclaimed spiritual klutz finds herself wading through adventures with auras, demons, psychics and Jesus. In this book, Maxwell catalogues 16 years of spiritual experiences. The reader is taken through her quest for peace and understanding as she discovers that, regardless of the path, all religions call for loving others. Maxwell draws on religious symbolism from all world religions and quotes everyone from C.S. Lewis to Ramakrishna; the book is essentially spiritual and syncretistic. Readers who find Maxwell more superstitious than authentic should still appreciate her distinctive writing style. Her training as a nature writer allows her to see an experience from the outside in a way inward-looking spiritual writers often cannot. Her cheeky-to-chaste style is both conversational and controlled. Readers will enjoy watching this “former spiritual dodo-brain” discover beauty beyond nature. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582702360
  • Publisher: Atria Books/Beyond Words
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

The daughter of a Scottish New Zealander and an Arabic-Cajun, Jessica Maxwell has the whole wide world in her blood. True to her pedigree, she is a widely published international adventure writer, author and photographer with a special emphasis on food, conservation, women’s journeys and spiritual transformation. The youngest writer to pen Esquire’s Travel column (1985 – 1997), she created and wrote Audubon’s True Nature in-the-field conservation column (1992 – 1997) before authoring travel books on flyfishing, golf and women’s adventure. She is a longtime contributor to the LIFE section of Forbes, and regular presence in AARP The Magazine, Gourmet, and More.
A former California beach girl, she earned a degree in Magazine Journalism at the University of Oregon–including spending her junior year in Aix-en-Provence–and now lives in Western Oregon, with her trial attorney husband Tom “Mr. Quotable” Andersen at Gaiety Hill House, a historic Georgian manor where she happily serves their guests afternoon tea and grand feasts, especially when her beloved stepsons, Ben and Eli, are in town...unless she’s out stalking giant Norwegian grouse or chasing away evil spirits with a Himalayan Rinpoche.

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Table of Contents

An Invitation xi

Part I Holy Pig Farmer

1 The Face in the Sky 3

2 Holy Pig Farmer 11

3 The Last Supper 15

4 Everybody's Secret 17

5 The Knife Man Cometh 21

6 Hibiscus Swami 27

7 Rabbi Eye Movement 37

8 That's Him 41

9 The Auras of Big League Pitchers 43

10 Mud and Water 51

Part II Flowering Bay

11 Little House in the Big Woods 57

12 God Speed 63

13 Evil Furniture 67

14 Flowering Bay 73

15 Let Him Go 79

Part III My Lunch with Deepak

16 The Church of Greg 83

17 Casting Out Demons 93

18 My Lunch with Deepak 97

19 The Blue Light 109

20 The Color Red 115

21 Three Kings and the Pendulum Swings 119

Part IV Dharma Object Lessons

22 The Central Angel 129

23 Dharma Object Lessons 137

24 Val Speaks 143

25 The Elephant God 149

26 Dancing with Stephen Hawking 153

27 Hill gaya re apun 165

28 Avatar of the Heart 171

29 Milk Teeth Miracle 175

30 The Christmas Solidier 181

31 Heat Cloud 185

32 Blessed Assurance 187

Part V Midnight Talks with The Daughters of Islam

33 The Squirrel and Yogananda 193

34 And the Angels Sang 197

35 In the Hall of the Spirit Bear 201

36 Of Microscopes and Jellyfish 209

37 Squids and Chaos Makers 213

38 Airport Enlightenment 219

39 Midnight Talks with the Daughters of Islam 223

40 Nuns for a Week! 233

41 Return of the Two Prophets 241

Epilogue: What on Earth Does All This Mean for You? 245

Benediction 269

Acknowledgments 271

Readers Club Guide 275

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 17, 2009

    Front Row Seat: a witness to Roll Around Heaven

    Full disclosure: I have a bit part in Jessica Maxwell's comedic spiritual romp Roll Around Heaven, and if that makes a difference to you, then you can skip this and go to the next review. But for those of you who want the full scoop on what it took for Jess to write this book and why you should read it, then continue on.

    Years ago, I became Jessica's witness (besides her tea-drinking buddy) to this Lucille-Ball-Trips-Over-God adventure. Being a former Yankee and at times cynic, I could also be the needle-to-the-balloon buster of this high-flying tale-that is if it weren't true. But as God is MY witness, Jessica Maxwell, who exhorts people to "suit up and show up" if they want anything positive to happen in their lives was called to "suit up and show up" for an adventure she didn't expect or sign up for. Fishing the Amazon or riding horses in Mongolia might sound dangerous (she has done both AND she's allergic to horses), but when she says in the book, "I was afraid to be alone," she's talking about a different danger entirely. Fear of being alone is often a call for spiritual help, and even though she'll make you laugh silly with this memoir, believe me, her adventure was much harder than she lets on. Unlike me, she had no husband to hold her when 9/11 happened. When the market for magazine travel writing dropped like a meteor to earth and she couldn't pay her mortgage, not one bank would help her, even though she had a long career as an award-winning writer. And don't even get me started on the "Harrison" character in the book!

    So the stage was set. As Lory Misel, the Holy Pig Farmer of Roll Around Heaven says, "Darkness, the deep dark places, those energies can be your best teachers. Yes, yes."

    Yes, yes, indeed, and thank the Supreme Personality those dark places sent Jessica on this journey and eventually to us. Soon her love of science was matched with a love of discovering what the heck the weird floating blobs were that visited her on occasion. Where else have you heard a defense of seeing "spirits" explained like this: "So if some of us are born able to perceive spiritual dimensions others can't quite yet, does it really make sense to kick the dog for hearing the dog whistle?"

    No, not really, as you will soon discover, as I did.

    Jessica and I spent many literary lunches talking about what was happening to her, and the more I listened to Jess, the more I started paying attention. That's what she'll bring to the world with Roll Around Heaven-how to pay attention (besides how to laugh at and get over yourself at the same time). Her true gift, I suspect, will be the Epilogue of Roll Around Heaven, "What on Earth Does All This Mean for You?" She doesn't just leave you more alert and tuned in to your own experiences (Coincidences you say? Nah!); she banishes the idea of religions as separate teams where spiritual dogma makes us compete and breaks us down into "us" and "them," winners and losers. We don't need that in our world and she knows it. Right now she offers the world not only laughter and an eye-and-heart-opening adventure, but she delivers a ray of blue light that will dispel anyone's fear of ever being alone again. Because we're not.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2009

    Exquisitely written, rollicking, and insightful without being preachy. Everyone needs this book - believers and non-believers. Buy this book. Buy more several and give them to your best friends.

    I could not set down this book. I am familiar with Ms. Maxwell's adventure writing, which is well-written and funny. In this book she takes things to a higher level (pun intended). You will be amazed at the unbidden physic/spiritual adventures which befall Jessica Maxwell all over the world, each of which is marvelously told with verve, humor and style.

    Even more important is the message she brings to a world which sorely needs to hear it. We all can experience the Divine. All we have to do is ask and be aware. There are many paths to awareness and one of them is right for each person.

    Jessica relates her experiences all over the world (India, Bhutan, Scotland, and Oman) and at home in the Pacific Northwest, with persons of all faiths - Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, and Presbyterians - to show the reader the many paths to God. She does it by recounting her experiences with great wit and insight, treating them as the greatest of life's adventures.

    She goes beyond just retelling what has happened to her and gives the reader tools to achieve deeper awareness of the ultimate purpose of life and the oneness of all of creation. Her epilogue, entitled "What on Earth Does All This Mean to You?," sets out practical ways and methods for you to Roll Around Heaven in your own life. In this way her book is unlike others of this genre` (Eat, Pray, Love) which tell a good tale but do not leave the reader with any way to apply the story to his/her own life.

    This book will affect the world for the better. It should have a prominent place on your bookshelf and in your life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Love this book

    A life changing book that inspired much hope for someone that still carries the fears and scars from my religious upbringing. As someone struggling with their spiritual path, this book brought healing and even a couple of 'signs' from the Divine to encourage me along the way.

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  • Posted August 31, 2010

    Rah! for RAH

    For Jessica Maxwell , God is big! God isn't to be found in a small box, but in the many faiths of the world, and she's met with the enlightened teachers of many. Roll Around Heaven is Jessica's account of her intentional style of living and accepting, sometimes with skepticism, her God-given gift, first discovered when she sees her dad's face in the sky after his death. From there on, she's on an adventure like none others she's experienced (many of which she has had during her years of magazine writing.) With honesty and a whimsical touch of humor, she shares her spiritual journey. Her writing style brought me into the stories and I found it hard to put the book down. ( "Just one more chapter to see what she's up to next.") But, sharing her story is not her only purpose. At the end, she suggests her readers can tune into their own spirituality, starting with "Suit up and show up." Be prepared for Roll Around Heaven to ask questions of you and pique your interest in many ideas and experiences you may never have thought possible.

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  • Posted November 30, 2009

    When Pigs Fly

    I must confess, my delightful read and positive review of Roll Around Heaven is biased by my personal contacts with Jessica Maxwell. I had the honor of shooting the photograph of Jessica Maxwell for Roll Around Heaven and I can tell you the light in her eyes is as authentic as her "accidental spiritual adventures."

    Jessica is a reporter in the best journalistic tradition demonstrated by her long successful adventure writing career. Like Jessica's previous writings, Roll Around Heaven once again takes us on a path of mystery, adventure, and romance. She writes of adventures of the spirit and miracles and yet is always grounded in the here and now. Jessica's ego and "point of view" never gets in the way and we get to have a good laugh along the read and the way.

    So however you choose to define the "divine," read Roll Around Heaven.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    Profound and Hilarious

    Jessica Maxwell's exuberant prose tumbles across the page like a whitewater raft, carrying the reader through the rapids, shallows, twists and turns of a pretty amazing life journey. This book has everything one could want: drama, adventure, romance, irreverent humor, spirituality and deep wisdom all woven through with magic. and it's all true!

    Have you ever had a coincidence, synchronicity, or -go on, say it - a miracle that changed your life? Well Jessica had a whole slew of them. The first few amazing happenings, like seeing her just-deceased father's face in the clouds, caught her attention. Being a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic, however, it took a lot of effort and persistence on the part of the universe to nudge, badger and slam her onto the path back to God, enlightenment, Source, whatever you want to call it.

    "Roll Around Heaven" describes the sometimes painful, but always amazing and even miraculous experiences that moved her from being militantly anti-religious to becoming what her spiritual mentor calls a holy woman - a mentor she calls the Holy Pig Farmer, and yes he does farm pigs.

    Like many stories of personal transformation, it started with a cosmic 2 by 4 delivered squarely to the ego by 9/11. Work dried up, she lost her house, her marriage was down the know, everyday life. Being a journalist specializing in nature and adventures in far-flung places, Jessica was curious and open to experiences of all kinds. When something as weird as personalized cloud formations happened, she was determined to understand how and why. This fierce need to know magnetized some amazing teachers to her, including a handyman, a rabbi, swamis, gurus, ministers and a golf-playing Indian mystic.

    She began to be able to see auras, like the aura of a major league pitcher extending out to the batter before striking him out and winning a playoff for the Seattle Mariners. Spanning dimensions of space and time, she was visited by orbs, angels and the energy bodies of Jesus, Ganesh the Hindu God, and a delightful centegenarian spinster who had just passed. She discovered first hand the incredible healing power of prayer, and the ineffable bliss of connection to all that is.

    The fascinating thing about this journey is how universal were both her questions and the answers that presented themselves. It brought her back to a perception and love of God that would be at home in any religion true to its original spirit. The message of the book is that we are all brothers and sisters, and we can all know the bliss of God within if we just show up and ask. It is a message that is not preached, but shared as by an intimate friend, and given wings by wit, eloquence and a generous spirit.

    I predict that this book will be another blockbuster for Beyond Words/Atria, possibly rivaling the success of "The Secret". I expect it to be a powerful force for awakening and giving rise to a new consciousness.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    A surprise all the way through

    If any of my friends thought of giving a spiritual book as a gift, they know better than to give it to me. You can imagine my surprise (and theirs) when I found this to be a fun and enlightening read. Throw all your prejedices about spiritual writing out the window and get this book. You'll be hankering for a sequal by the time your done.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    Spiritual AND Funny!

    Is it possible to be deeply spiritual, highly psychic, and very, very funny at the same time? Jessica Maxwell does it all in her spiritual memoir, Roll Around Heaven. From flying pigs to dancing physicists, from India to the island of Iona, Jessica weaves a wonderful web of profound synchronicities. It'll start you thinking about so-called "coincidences" in your own life--while you're rolling around laughing!

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