"What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?" This is the opening question to The Dance
. And like a thematic melody, this is the thread that holds Oriah Mountain Dreamer's book together, as she encourages readers to stop trying to change who you are and simply remember that "who you are is really enough." There are many reasons Mountain Dreamer is such a popular author (her debut book, The Invitation
, was a soaring success), the main one being she doesn't pretend to have all the answers. Instead her warm, conversational writing shows us how to "live the questions," as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke once beckoned us to do. When Mountain Dreamer yells at her 19-year-old son, even after vowing to be patient, she asks herself, "Why [do] I repeatedly fail to live the intentions that matter to me? I want to know how to narrow the gap between the sincerest desires of my soul and my daily actions." Living these questions isn't easy, but it is the only way Mountain Dreamer wants to dance. Her chapters explore topics such as greed and money, creating love relationships, overscheduling, and solitude. At the end of each chapter she suggests a fitting mediation or exercise. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
On the heels of her bestselling debut, The Invitation, Mountain Dreamer has written the gentlest of spiritual self-help books urging readers to slow down, let go and dance. Her central theme is that who we are is enough (loving enough, compassionate enough) and that only fear prevents us from accepting this liberating truth. Another recurring theme is the importance of learning to hold and keep others in our hearts in order to dissolve the divisive us-and-them dichotomy that deadens empathy. Each of her 12 chapters is followed by a practical meditation for readers to internalize and implement her ideas. If these lessons sound heavy-handed or high-minded, Mountain Dreamer delivers them in the most engaging and personal way. Her writing is intimate and conversational, its greatest strength being her use of illustrative anecdotes. Sometimes she draws from the lives and experiences of individuals she has spiritually counseled, but most often she tells stories about herself. These are not the exhortations of a wise and enlightened spiritual guru, but the true-life struggles of a multifaceted woman who is a divorced single mother of teenage boys, a lover, a spiritual guide and a writer. Her occasional use of profanity is entirely gratuitous, but she writes disarmingly of her own hurts, blunders and embarrassments, including her failures to take her own advice. The fact that she does so "without self-recrimination" demonstrates her effort to heed the message of the book and accept herself as she is. (Sept.) Forecast: Even readers who usually eschew New Age books enjoyed The Invitation, which has sold nearly a quarter of a million copies and received a nice spike in sales after the author's appearance on Oprah last year. Mountain Dreamer suffuses this gift book with the same broad appeal; it should easily sell out its first printing of 68,000. HSF plans national advertising and a five-city author tour.
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