When You're Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living [NOOK Book]

Overview

Do survivors-of trauma, loss, abuse-gain a "secret knowledge" about life from their experience? Mark Matousek, a survivor fascinated with the enigma of survival, draws on interviews with an enslaved Sudanese boy, a Tibetan nun tortured for her belief, an Auschwitz prisoner, a Vietnam P.O.W., as well as noted thinkers and spiritual teachers Ram Daas, Stanley Kunitz, Eckhart Tolle, and Mother Meera. In distilling the many experiences, Matousek shows how enduring hardship can transform a person, refine his ...
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When You're Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living

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Overview

Do survivors-of trauma, loss, abuse-gain a "secret knowledge" about life from their experience? Mark Matousek, a survivor fascinated with the enigma of survival, draws on interviews with an enslaved Sudanese boy, a Tibetan nun tortured for her belief, an Auschwitz prisoner, a Vietnam P.O.W., as well as noted thinkers and spiritual teachers Ram Daas, Stanley Kunitz, Eckhart Tolle, and Mother Meera. In distilling the many experiences, Matousek shows how enduring hardship can transform a person, refine his character, and alchemize catastrophe into living wisdom.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Memoirist and editor Matousek (Sex Death Enlightenment) attempts to dissect the relationship between life's harshest tests and the gift of self-discovery and survival in this absorbing compendium of anecdotes. The author, who has AIDS, interviews many survivors of trauma and loss, including writer Joan Didion, mystic Andrew Harvey, poet Stanley Kunitz and Tibetan nun Nawang Sangdrol, among others, to inquire how deepest crisis forces us to re-examine our lives and move forward. After stating that "Transformation is in our wiring," Matousek concludes that the key to our survival is not cheating death but living as passionately, creatively and courageously as possible. Using scientific data, psychological research and his own life experiences, he uncovers the essentials of enduring against all odds while answering his chief question: "What force flips a falling person back on his feet, reconstitutes him after disaster, helps him prevail in the face of great challenges?" Matousek shows an uncanny skill for merging spirituality, science and common sense into practical answers for surviving our own lives. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Journalist and memoirist Matousek follows his 1996 memoir, Sex Death Enlightenment, with an exploration of viriditas, the phenomenon of drawing passion, beauty, and wisdom from unlikely sources. AIDS sets the stage for the author's inquiry into the resiliency some people display when faced with tragedy and trauma. Each chapter is an anecdote, or parable, about a person's survivoring (most of those interviewed are well known, e.g., Joan Didion, Ram Dass, and Stanley Kunitz). The attempt to thread the stories into a cohesive narrative rope is hampered by their sheer emotion, creating an odd offering that may not comfort. The subjects inspire and may teach by example, but there are no easy answers or self-help style checklists here. Matousek's elevated vocabulary and intrusive voice and persona jar. Consider where similar titles are in demand, e.g., Betty Rollin's cancer survivor-themed Here's the Bright Side, Jeanne Elizabeth Sexson's woman-focused Down but Not Out, or David Wolpe's uplifting Making Loss Matter. This title may be useful in an academic setting supporting post-traumatic and grief coursework and would make a good book-discussion selection. An optional purchase for public and academic libraries.
—Shawna Thorup

From the Publisher
“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.” —O Magazine

“Journalist and memoirist Matousek follows his 1996 memoir, Sex Death Enlightenment, with an exploration of viriditas, the phenomenon of drawing passion, beauty, and wisdom from unlikely sources. AIDS sets the stage for the author’s inquiry into the resiliency some people display when faces with tragedy and trauma. Each chapter is an anecdote, or parable, about a person’s survivoring.” —Library Journal

“[An] absorbing compendium of anecdotes…Matousek shows an uncanny skill for merging spirituality, science and common sense into practical answers for surviving our own lives.” —Publishers Weekly

“A valuable guide for those who are looking to deal with traumatic and life-changing events.”

—Rocky Mountain News

“Filled with remarkable stories, illuminating insights and enduring lessons this gorgeously written book makes the impossible, transformational. Matousek has found a way to live by listening, by going to the darkest and most beautiful places, and gratefully he takes us with him.” -Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and Insecure at Last

“Reading Mark Matousek's When You're Falling, Dive is like discovering a great artist's lost sketchbook. It is full of little wonders that change the way you see things. Bringing his journalist's eye to some of today's most provocative thinkers, Matousek takes us inside their minds, offering fresh counsel for perennial, but newly urgent, questions.” —Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Thoughts without a Thinker and Going to Pieces without Falling Apart

“When You’re Falling, Dive reveals a secret known only to the few who have pushed through greatest adversity to find life’s light on the other side. Matousek makes this wisdom available to us all. This will be his defining work both as a man and as a writer. A masterpiece…” Maria Housden, author of Hannah's Gift and Unraveled

“Like Dante’s Inferno, Matousek’s book shows us the tortures of hell—physical, psychological, political—and a host of real people who have inhabited that fiery pit and risen triumphantly from it. Matousek is a trustworthy guide, one who himself has struggled with angel-demons, one who offers a life-affirming gift to his readers. Voices and visions flutter from these pages to become part of the air we breathe, and part of us.” Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance

“Beautiful and true.” Rebecca Walker, author of Babylove

“Thank god (Jesus? Krisna? the Oversoul?) that someone has finally written a spiritual book with an edge. In this boisterous collection of true stories, Mark Matousek takes us from Himalayan peaks to a sit-down with Andy Warhol, from a homeless shelter to Joan Didion’s Upper East Side apartment. Matousek knows everyone, tells all, and writes sentences that reverb like zen koans. This book is a blessed departure from other ‘survivor memoirs.’ Matousek comes off as the most fascinating—and wise—cocktail-party raconteur you’ve ever met.” Pagan Kennedy, author of The First Man-Made Man and Black Livingstone

“Mark Matousek is an excellent guide to the wisdom we seek in times of crisis.” —Dan Wakefield, author of Returning

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608196463
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 1/15/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 710,491
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.81 (d)
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Mark Matousek is the author of two memoirs, The Boy He Left Behind and Sex Death Enlightenment. He is a contributing editor for O and Tricycle and has served as senior editor of Interview. He has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times magazine, Details, Vogue, AARP magazine, the Utne Reader, Out, Yoga Journal, and others. He lives in New York City.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    It is really difficult to write a review for this book, simply b

    It is really difficult to write a review for this book, simply because it is so delicately written, as if the author chose the most beautiful words and uplifting stories - just for you. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to seekers, passionate readers, and aficionados of outstanding prose.

    Vanja

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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