I have endured long-term suffering, and I have straggled out the other side. At first, for many years, I thought I was damaged by it. Now, I see the pain reshaped me and my resolve so I can live my best life.
Under great trauma, one can either decide to cave under its weight, or to keep going. I chose to keep going, and to find meaning in the agony. It’s not about “meant to be” or “destiny.” It, for me, was about finding a way to improve, to learn a lesson, to take what good I could from it. I believe nothing is 100% bad or 100% good. Life is shades of grey.
That’s why this book spoke to me. I was in tears after the first few pages. “Eventually, all the love, suffering, and humility we go through wear away our walls of resistance until Spirit shines from within us like an inner sun. This is how Spirit is revealed on Earth – when the coverings we carry are worn away by life, so the light we carry can pour into the world,” writes Mark Nepo in The Book of Soul, offered to readers as a powerful guide to inhabiting an authentic and wholehearted life.
For years, my trauma has defined who I am. What I do, how I think, the choices I make: all because I’m striving to overcome. Recently, though, enough time has passed that I’ve found grace, and in that grace finally comes gratitude for the pain, because the pain still defines me, but I’m a better me. Pain expands the heart and in the expansion, if you let it, you can find more love, compassion, agape.
Nepo, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, posits that after we are physically born, we must be spiritually born a second time, a process that takes place through the labor of a lifetime as we develop into more fully realized beings. The Book of Soul delves into the spiritual alchemy of that transformation in all its mystery, difficulty, and inevitability. “Forget the hours of suffering, but not what they have taught you,” he reminds.
The book is divided into four sections that mark the passages we all face: enduring our Walk in the World, until we discover Our True Inheritance, which allows us to live in the open by Widening Our Circle, as we Help Each Other Stay Awake. The Book of Soul can be a tool to lead us into the process of transformation.
St. Martin’s Essentials
St. Martin’s Publishing Group
On Sale: 05/05/2020