Rising Strong

Book Club

‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown

It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.


‘Instrumental’: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music

Book Club

Instrumental by James Rhodes

The link between childhood sexual abuse, mental illness and creative genius

James Rhodes’ passion for music has been his absolute lifeline. It has been the thread that has held him together through a life that has encompassed pain, conflict and turmoil. Listening to Rachmaninov on a loop as a traumatised teenager or discovering an Adagio by Bach while in a hospital ward – such exquisite miracles of musical genius have helped him survive his demons, and, along with a chance encounter with a stranger, inspired him to become the renowned concert pianist he is today.

This is a memoir like no other: unapologetically candid, boldly outspoken and surprisingly funny – James’ prose is shot through with an unexpectedly mordant wit, even at the darkest of moments. An impassioned tribute to the therapeutic powers of music, Instrumental also weaves in fascinating facts about how classical music actually works and about the extraordinary lives of some of the great composers. It explains why and how music has the potential to transform all of our lives.


The Bounce Back Book

Life is full of surprise challenges – and Karen Salmansohn offers some informative research from the world of resilience psychology to help ensure you bounce back from tough times stronger, better, happier!


Book Club

Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis

by Stanislav Grof

Increasing numbers of people involved in personal transformation or a healing crisis are experiencing spiritual emergencies —  when the process of growth and change becomes chaotic and overwhelming.

Individuals experiencing such episodes may feel that their sense of identity is breaking down, that their old values no longer hold true, and that the very ground beneath their personal realities is radically shifting. In many cases, new realms of mystical and spiritual experience enter their lives suddenly and dramatically, resulting in fear and confusion. They may feel tremendous anxiety, have difficulty coping with their daily lives, jobs, and relationships, and may even fear for their own sanity.

Unfortunately, much of modern psychiatry has failed to distinguish these episodes from mental illness. As a result, transformational crises are often suppressed by routine psychiatric care, medication, and even institutionalization.

This book delves into the potential problem inherent in the spiritual growth process:  bouts of mental confusion, seeming madness or at least extreme dysfunction. The Grofs have put together a collection of essays by themselves and various other authors which explore the psychic/psychological dynamics of what they call “spiritual emergency.” That’s their term for when the growth process puts a person into psychic overload. The essays describe different aspects of such overload, as well as ways to help yourself or someone else through it.

Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis (New Consciousness Readers) by Stanislav Grof. $10.86. Author: Stanislav Grof. Reading level: Ages 18 and up. Publisher: Tarcher; 1st edition (September 1, 1989). Save 36%!

From Spiritual Emergency to Healing 

There is a new perspective slowly developing among many mental health professionals and those studying spiritual development that views such crises as transformative breakthroughs that can hold tremendous potential for physical and emotional healing. When understood and treated in a supportive manner, spiritual emergencies can become gateways to higher levels of functioning and new ways of being.

In this book, foremost psychologists, psychiatrists, and spiritual teachers address the following questions: What is spiritual emergency? What is the relationship between spirituality, “madness,” and healing? What forms does spiritual emergency take? What are the pitfalls — and promises — of spiritual practice? How can people in spiritual emergency be assisted by family, friends, and professionals?

This groundbreaking work reveals that within the crisis of spiritual emergency lies the promise of spiritual emergence and renewal.


Book Club

The People Of The Lie 

(The Hope for Healing Human Evil)

Author: M. Scott Peck

In his second international bestseller, Dr M. Scott Peck describes his encounters during psychiatric therapy with patients who are not merely ill but manifestly evil – People of the Lie.

This brilliant, disturbing book forces us to confront the darker side of our natures and to recognize that without a spiritual dimension, modern psychiatry cannot claim to understand human nature or behavior. It is a worthy successor to ‘The Road Less Traveled’.