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Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence

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Matthew Sanford's inspirational story about the car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down is a superbly written memoir of healing and journey—from near death to triumphant life.

Matt Sanford's life and body were irrevocably changed at age 13 on a snowy Iowa road. On that day, his family's car skidded off an overpass, killing Matt's father and sister and left him paralyzed from the chest down, confining him to a wheelchair. His mother and brother escaped from the ...

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2006 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 241 p. Audience: General/trade. Inscribed and SIGNED by Mr. Sanford on ... dedication page. Read more Show Less

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Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence

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Overview

Matthew Sanford's inspirational story about the car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down is a superbly written memoir of healing and journey—from near death to triumphant life.

Matt Sanford's life and body were irrevocably changed at age 13 on a snowy Iowa road. On that day, his family's car skidded off an overpass, killing Matt's father and sister and left him paralyzed from the chest down, confining him to a wheelchair. His mother and brother escaped from the accident unharmed but were left to pick up the pieces of their decimated family.

This pivotal event set Matt off on a lifelong journey, from his intensive care experiences at the Mayo Clinic to becoming a paralyzed yoga teacher and founder of a non-profit organization. Forced to explore what it truly means to live in a body, he emerges with an entirely new view of being a "whole" person.

Waking is a chronicle of that process. By turns agonizingly personal, philosophical, and heartbreakingly honest, this groundbreaking memoir takes the reader inside the body, heart, and mind of a boy whose world has been shattered. The author allows us to follow with him as he rebuilds from the ground up, searching for "healing stories" to help him reconnect his mind and his body. To do so, he must reject much of what traditional medicine tells him and instead turn to yoga as a centerpiece of his daily practice. The author finds not only a better life, but meaning and purpose in the mysterious distance that we all experience between mind and body.

In searing candid, frequently poetic language, Sanford pulls back the curtain on what it means to survive devastating trauma, from returning to a broken life to the uncertainty of finding sexual intimacy with a paralyzed body. But first and foremost the author offers a powerful message about the endurance of the human spirit, and the body that houses it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a riveting, heartbreaking, heart-opening saga…His insights are seeds that acquire power and shape over time—months after first reading it, I find myself appreciating his writing and the depth of his thinking more and more." —Nina Utne, Chair, Utne Magazine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594863028
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/27/2006
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.71 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

MATTHEW W. SANFORD is the founder of the non-profit organization Mind Body Solutions and specializes in adapting yoga to people living with disabilities. He currently resides in Orono, Minnesota.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xii
Introduction: The Mind-Body Relationship     xv
Trauma and Separation
Early Morning     3
My Body Broken     7
Out of Body     21
Which Family Were We?     33
Pain and Silence     47
Mind, Not Body     59
Gin and Tonics     73
Initiation
Into Your Arms     91
Wheels, Not Legs     109
Broken Again     127
Above the Chest     143
Yoga, Bodies, and Baby Boys
Taking My Legs Wide     161
Body Memories     173
Maha Mudra     183
Broken Yet Again     201
Falling Gracefully     215
The Births of William and Paul     225
Afterword     243
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 16, 2012

    Inspiring

    If you are living with a disability, this is an incredible book! If you are interested in the yogic path this is a must-read!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    Masterful

    I've never been so moved by such a piece of work. It is a simply masterful presentation of a unique perspective. A must read for therapists, healthcare providers, and every human being! I was healed with reading his story. His story is your story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2007

    right to the heart

    This is a great book. Anyone searching for who they are or recovering from a tramatic life experience should read this book. It made me realize how easily everything in your life can change and it can all be taken away in a flash. Losing his family and paralyzed from the chest down Sanford proves if you push hard enough for what you want you can turn your life around again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2007

    Hauntingly Delicious

    This is on my gift giving list as well as a 'must read' for counselors, yoga teachers, clergy, life coaches... anyone who struggles to find meaning in their own life or in the life of others. Matthew puts into words many of my own experiences of being debilitated and ignored and then finding my own definition of 'recovery'. But more importantly to me, his curiosity and bravery add dimension to the work I do including teaching yoga. Never merely about the physical poses, he offers evidence through his practice of yoga of that deeper sense of self - below muscle sensation, into the essence of life. I'll keep this book close for many purposes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2006

    Inspirational!

    A must read. It's a story of tragedy, disovery and triumph. Well done!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2006

    Inspiring

    Matthew Sanford's life should be an inspiration to us all - fully-abled and dis-abled alike. Matthew obviously has great passion for helping people become re-connected to our earthly bodies, and create a better life for ourselves and others. Read this book - you won't be able to put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2006

    A true story for all of us

    I picked up this book last night off my side table to read a few pages and get a feel for where it was going. Three hours later I hadn't moved and I didn't stop reading until I finished the book. I kept forgetting to breathe. This book should be required reading for every pre-med student. I was horrified by the stories, not of incompetence, but of disregard by medical professionals of the spiritual and emotional needs of a young boy suffering so much trauma, day after day. The writer's forgiveness for all that he experienced and endured is truly remarkable. Readers should note that this book not only tells a passionate and beautiful story, but the writing is simply superb. Although I read the book through in one sitting, the metaphors and deeper meanings keep bubbling up to me, like all those phantoms and ghosts that circulate through the writer's words. This book is not going to be what you expect: Boy has accident, Boy can't walk again, yet, against all odds, Boy climbs Mt. Everest. The boy in this book takes us on a transformative journey that is far more life affirming. It's ultimately a true story about all of us and our inner capacity for survival.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

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    Posted June 24, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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