Ms. Oriah Mountain Dreamer has created a pathway beyond the comfortable and the mundane into that which challenges and repels you. By addressing the edges of your personality and sensitivities, you can build on and extend your awareness and your reality in honest ways that better fit your inner self. The book is propelled from the author's emotionally intense vision of her life as expressed in this question: "Did I love well?"
Although her personal examples are simply there to help your own journey, their poignancy touched me deeply. If you are like me, you will admire the honesty and openness of her sharing. Ms. Dreamer has had two failed marriage and many failed relationships. She has had friends who experienced horrible personal setbacks. You will be seared by the pain, the truth, and the beauty in these experiences. And you will be the better for the vicarious experience.
Above all, this book is a call to have courage, courage to go beyond the comfortable into the important. Because of the examples chosen and her personal perspective, this book will probably speak more eloquently to many women than to many men.
The book is broken down into the statement of her invitation to follow her spiritual path by dealing with longing, fear, sorrow, joy, betrayal, beauty, failure, commitment, and fire to develop the deep sustenance to allows you to go to your true inner home. Each section contains personal experiences of her point, and ends with valuable meditation exercises to help you find your own "truth" in these areas.
Although the book sounds like another New Age tract, it is actually anti-New Age in many ways . . . especially in favoring emotional and physical reality over spiritual vagueness.
Here is a little of what she has to say on these subjects:
Accepting the Invitation: " . . . [Y]ou will experience, not just read about, the ache, the sorrow, the joy, the courage, the peace . . . ."
The Longing: "This is what I ask for: intimacy with myself, others, and the world . . . ."
The Fear: "We are afraid we will not be enough." " . . . [D]esire . . . brings the ecstasy of falling more deeply in love with my own life every day . . . ."
The Sorrow: "If we are strong enough to be weak enough, we are given a wound that never heals." "[That wound] is the gift that keeps the heart open."
The Joy: "The enemy of joy is the litany of 'not good enough' . . . ."
The Betrayal: "Sometimes, to choose life, we must break agreements; sometimes we must keep them although they are hard to keep."
The Beauty: " . . . [G]ratitude expands my ability to receive beauty." "It is what pulls us towards life."
The Failure: " . . . [O]ften an attempt to avoid the paralysis of shame."
The Commitment: " . . . [F]eed the children when [they] thought they could not."
The Fire: "[D]ifficult to keep our hearts open, to feel the fear and pain."
Finding Our Way Home: "Are you willing to meet yourself and not turn away from what you are?"
As you can see, Ms. Dreamer sets a high standard, but one that you will probably be proud to match.
I particularly recommend the meditations in the book. My own meditation routine repeats the same process. I found it rewarding to use different methods. Many new thoughts occurred to me as a result. It was a deeply moving experience in each case.
After you have finished your spiritual journey with this book as a guide, I suggest that you write out your own examples to match these topics from your own experience. This will make the material more accessible, especially if loving well is not your core reason for being.
Be yourself, in more ways and more fully!