Category Archives: Book Review

Deepak Chopra: Life after Death

Photo courtesy of http://www.coverbrowser.com

Deepak Chopra has touched millions of readers by demystifying our deepest spiritual concerns while retaining their poetry and wonder. Now he turns to the most profound mystery: What happens after we die?

Is this one question we were not meant to answer, a riddle whose solution the universe keeps to itself? Chopra tells us there is abundant evidence that “the world beyond” is not separated from this world by an impassable wall; in fact, a single reality embraces all worlds, all times and places.

At the end of our lives we “cross over” into a new phase of the same soul journey we are on right this minute.

In Life After Death, Chopra draws on cutting-edge scientific discoveries and the great wisdom traditions to provide a map of the afterlife. It’s a fascinating journey into many levels of consciousness.

But far more important is his urgent message: Who you meet in the afterlife and what you experience there reflect your present beliefs, expectations, and level of awareness. In the here and now you can shape what happens after you die.

By bringing the afterlife into the present moment, Life After Death opens up an immense new area of creativity. Ultimately there is no division between life and death—there is only one continuous creative project.

Chopra invites us to become co-creators in this subtle realm, and as we come to understand the one reality, we shed our irrational fears and step into a numinous sense of wonder and personal power.

Healing Grief Residential Program in NSW with Petrea King

Healing Grief is a weekend residential program that acknowledges the pain of grief as
well as providing an understanding of bereavement, its idiosyncrasies and practical strategies to begin or continue the process of healing, integration and making meaning of our loss.

This program is suitable for anyone who has lost a loved one either recently or in the past and who finds that grief is ongoing.

There are limited spaces available for the upcoming program on 19th – 21st February in Bundanoon, NSW (90 minutes from Sydney). Financial subsidies are available for people who live in NSW, through support from NSW Health.

Reading Petrea’s book, Sometimes Hearts Have to Break is highly recommended before attending this program.

For more information visit http://www.questforlife.com.au or phone 02 4883 6599.

BOOK REVIEW: Afterlife Agreements: A Gift From Beyond

Afterlife Agreements: A Gift From Beyond is beautifully written by a bereaved mother of her grief journey.

It is filled with love, inspiration, and the spiritual piece that makes this book so unique. It was very moving to read Chris Mulligan’s journey following the death of her son, Zac. As she wrote about afterlife agreements and contracts we set up with our loved ones prior to birth, my own beliefs were validated, impleted and solidified. The grief process is so very difficult , but to know that our children are still very much a part of our lives can help lessen that grief.

Chris openly shares her “new relationship” with Zac, allowing us to know that their bond remains strong and loving. As the pain of Chris’ grief is journaled, she reminds herself and us that she and Zac set up their contracts for growth and learning. I am grateful Chris Mulligan followed her heart and Zac’s request that she write this book to help all bereaved parents look beyond their pain to the love and lessons that remain.

You can buy the book online at Amazon here.

BOOK REVIEW: Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life

sacreddyinglrgAt some point in our lives, many of us will find ourselves sitting at the bedside of a dying loved one. Thanks to Megory Anderson’s Sacred Dying, we now have one of the most important and eloquent books available on tending to the dying. Anderson offers readers rituals and interactions to soothe and support a dying person as he or she crosses over into death. Even in situations where there is a specific religious ritual at hand–such as summoning a priest for the last sacrament–there are still many hours (and even days) that can be used to make a dying person feel spiritually and physically comforted and prepared.

As the founder of the Sacred Dying Foundation in San Francisco, Anderson provides real-life examples and strong storytelling to cover all aspects of dying, including how to help someone let go of “unfinished business” and how to massage a dying person to help them let go of their body. Anderson lists the tools for rituals (such as holy water, incense, and markers and paper for writing final thoughts). She even devotes an entire chapter to music–a powerful tool in healing and transcendence. Anderson offers a lovely book that covers everything you need to know to help a dying person feel deeply cared for, whether you choose to read poems aloud from the final chapters or simply sit in silence, holding the hand of a loved one.

Buy it online here.

BOOK REVIEW – Stroke of Insight

my stroke of insightJill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who, at 37, watched her brain unravel as a haemorrhage in the left hemisphere gradually obliterated her story, her separateness, her past, her future, her inner critic and her capacities to comprehend letters, numbers and speech. She was left with profound bliss in the present moment and discovered that this experience (of bliss) is possible for everyone – and better still, that we don’t need to suffer a stroke in order to achieve it!

Through determination and hard work, Jill fully recovered all her capacities and found that she had a choice about which parts of her story she would retrieve. For instance, she had been quite an angry person and she simply decided not to re-establish any of the patterns from the past which no longer served this new heightened state of awareness, gratitude and contentment.

Read more about Jill Bolte Taylor’s book on Petrea Kind’s site Quest for Life.

BOOK REVIEW: Sometimes Hearts Have to Break

sometimes hearts have to breakIt sometimes takes a lifetime to bring us to our full glory. And sometimes it takes a life-threatening illness. The events of our lives, however tragic, can be a catalyst by which we shed all that stands in the way of us feeling deeply alive and at peace.

For people facing death the challenge to find peace is more urgent. They must struggle to find understanding, acceptance and meaning in what is happening to them.

This is Petrea’s story, when diagnosed with leukaemia and given only a few weeks to live, and the stories of twenty-five of those whose lives she has enriched and been enriched by in turn. Full of quiet courage, humour, wisdom and joy, these inspirational stories are a reminder of the importance of inner peace and the need to create an environment for healing within ourselves, our families and our communities.

Click here to purchase Petrea’s book.

BOOK REVIEW: The Healing Book: Facing the Death, and Celebrating the Life, of Someone You Love

Picture 1The Healing Book is a memory book that is designed to help children and teens who have experienced the death of someone close to them. It is a place to remember and celebrate the life of someone who has died, while at the same time exploring the complicated and often scary questions that kids have about death.

The Healing Book uses real language such as died and death, rather than euphemisms like loss or passed. This is very important because grieving children and teens need real words and real language to help them come to terms with the death of someone they love. This book is very hands on, with a lot of spaces for kids to write down how they’re feeling and what they’re experiencing.

It is very detailed, colorful and well written. It paves the way for children to have ongoing discussions about the person who died and also discussions about why people die in the first place.

You can buy The Healing Book from Amazon.com here.

BOOK REVIEW: When We Remember – Inspiration & Integrity for a Meaningful Funeral

When We RememberWhen We Remember focuses on the critical first week following a death – an intense, emotional crisis period when guidance can make a profound and positive difference to the grief journey.  This unique, generous and highly-acclaimed resource draws on many decades of experiences, particularly in understanding the power of music and prose in the rituals of our lives.

Starting at a basic level, families are taken step-by-step through the first few days when a loved one dies. Gentle suggestions begin traditionally, moving through to more creative and personal inspiration for creating a meaningful tribute. When We Remember highlights the vital emotional role of a memorial event, and the long-term benefits of knowing what to do at the time.

Every culture throughout history has attached ritual and significance to the passing of a loved one, and modern funerals draw on these roots. We can find comfort in the footsteps of tradition, or the significance of individual tributes. We remember that grief is a journey, not a destination, and a funeral is a vital first signpost. Funerals mark both the physical separation from the person that has died, and a renewal of friends and family ties for the time ahead.

This complete resource breaks the taboo surrounding death and will support and guide you through the beginning of life’s most difficult journey, the loss of a loved one. If you are preparing for an expected death, coping with the intense shock of an unexpected death, or simply sharing your life with friends and family, When We Remember is essential reading in every household.

You can visit their website here, and purchase the book online here.

BOOK REVIEW: Remembering Well: Rituals for Celebrating Life and Mourning Death

Remembering WellDeath is one of the most traumatic experience in our lives. Even the deaths of strangers affects us in unusual, sometimes unpredictable ways. The death of those close to us, family and friends, can leave us with questions, emotions and emptiness hard to comprehend. Yet, there are ways to deal with these; religion has rituals, families have traditions, cultures have cycles, allowances and expectations, yet we still need more.

This book by Sarah York puts an order to the chaos. Written primarily for those in caring professions (pastors and priests, health-care workers, etc.) or even for those who have expectation for the approaching death of friends or family members, the book can be rewarding to any reader, as death is one of the facts of life we will all face in a myriad of ways.

York infuses her discussions with her personal experiences as well as professional experiences. She talks about the various ways in which religion looks to care for the departed as well as those left behind, in terms of memorials, committals, and other services. She also looks at the emotional and relationship aspects, both when family and friends are close-knit as well as when there are distances and estrangements.

Through stories of people, York teaches and guides by example. She shows the specifics of how to help in the case of a suidice, the death of an infant, a death due to illness, and more. She helps to show how to carve out a space for the family and friends, the wider community, and for the presence of God in the midst of sometimes bewilderingly tragic situations.

The final chapter looks at the ‘seasons of grief’ — some religions, such as Judaism, have prescribed patterns or rituals to follow for up to a year after the death; in fact, the death of a person stays with us for the rest of our lives, and the more significant the relationship, the more significant that season can be, and more long-lasting in daily life and functioning. While the specific rituals of Judaism cannot appropriately be used out of context of the community and hold the same meaning, the pattern of activity and the pastoral/psychological way in which they function can be easily adapted.

York offers three sections of resources, which make this book practical and useful. Prayers, readings, blessings, service forms, even the idea for a ‘no-memorial wanted’ practice serves to stimulate ideas for the creative and meaningful way in which observe and remember.

York’s final story in the epilogue is very touching, an almost concrete way of showing how we carry forward those who have passed away in our own lives.

You can buy Remembering Well online at Amazon.com

BOOK REVIEW – Death and Dying: Life and Living

Life and LivingPractical and inspiring, this best-selling book helps you learn to cope with encounters with death, dying, and bereavement.

The authors integrate classical and contemporary material, present task-based approaches for individual and family coping, and include four substantial chapters devoted to death-related issues faced by children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.

The text discusses a variety of cultural and religious perspectives that affect people’s understandings and practices associated with such encounters. The book also offers practical guidelines for constructive communication designed to encourage productive living in the face of death.

Click here to buy the book online.