81 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2010
I can safely say that this book jumped off the shelf in a bookstore precisely because my life is coming apart. Had I read the reviews first, I probably wouldn't have purchased it, but having read the book now, probably two or three times, I highly recommend this gentle, easy read which has a way of making the reader feel that he/she is not alone. You are encouraged to read the chapters as needed and not necessarily in simultaneous order. The ten things outlined are not rocket science, but they are so logical and comforting to read, whether you are experiencing job loss, death, or any other various tragedies that are mentioned, but not singled out or dwelled upon. I started with the chapter on Simplifying, clearly a common theme in today's news, but this one hits home in a precise, memorable way, which encouraged me to not just clean out once, but go back and get rid of more and more. As the author explains, you cannot hope to deal with the clutter around you even when you are feeling 100%, but when everything else is coming apart, it is essential to free up your surroundings.
The chapter on "Letting Go", again not a new concept, but written in a conversational way that makes sense when your life doesn't... says, "You can't begin to fly when you have concrete on your feet." Take it for what it's worth. If you think this is corny, so be it, but for me it is a great spiritual and uplifting go-to manual. My head is swimming, thus I need the gift this author handed me at this specific time in my life.... order, peace and hope. And, one last thing, a chapter on the great healing value of crying. I really enjoyed the quick read, quick lift quality.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2010
I liked this book. it is not the placating stuff many self-help books are made of, and not an accumulation of many old books put into one.
i found this book very sweet and encouraging. she explains how we have dealt with things in the past and how these times are different
she had a friend going through tremendous crisis and asked for a list of ten things he could do to help himself
some chapters include
Cry your heart out
Face your defaults..habitual behavoirs
Do something different...changing your consciousness acting from courage..feeling gratitude no matter what
Let go..of old identities,frees your energy for new possibilities, holding on keeps us attached to our problems,your heart will lead the way,
Remember who you've always been...you are still you,know your strengths and connect with them,
Persist,don't give up,
Go where love is--it is all around you
Live in the light of the spirit..resuming our spiritual lives,change is not just happening to you
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The author lost a spouse but this book is not just for those in her situation. I'm grieving a far different kind of loss and found the suggestion in this book to be extremely useful. Since grief can encompass anger, despair, loneliness and far more, the author shares those feelings with us.
It is easy to feel alienated and out of touch with the world when trying to survive grief with some measure of self intact. One of the most reassuring things about this book is how it validates feelings which may feel crazy or cause the sufferer to be ashamed. However, because the author shares her anger and grief, with full reactions to insensitive comments or her inability to move from bed on some days, I was left feeling less alone and more understood.
Ideally, friends and relatives will step in to provide support. Even so, this book can offer extra solace.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I wondered about whether this book would really be helpful to me as I am facing some challenging experiences. Since I have read many non-fiction books in this genre, I figured there wouldn't be anything "new" here. The author acknowledged that most likely this book wouldn't contain new strategies and I was impressed with her candor.
I was pleasantly surprised that the author explained, with examples, the initial shocking phases of how life goes haywire. Sometimes, this happens all at once and other times in ways that accumulate over time. When she described this, it made me feel better about my own situation because I could see myself in her examples. I knew I wasn't alone.
She had some excellent strategies for dealing with life's difficulties including allowing ourselves to cry first - for as long as it takes - before starting to figure out what to do to get through it. That seemed like very sound advice to me.
Then, she gives some pretty specific guidelines for ways to gently get through whatever has happened including finding some quiet time every day to allow our reactions to surface, noticing what our usual ways of coping are and how they work for us, and gives us some ideas for doing something different. These are just a couple of her very valuable suggestions which all work together, and are appropriate in different moments.
I am giving this book 4 stars because at times it dragged on and some of her strategies seemed repetitive, particularly when she talked about the importance of persisting in making changes.
Having said that, when times are difficult, often repetition is one of the strongest ways for me to change my thinking and behavior. I'm sure I'll revisit this book again in the future.
36 of 46 people found the following review helpful
This is a very short book filled with a few feel good narratives and the main point stressed over and over is that our time on Earth is very short and limited and we are all here on a journey to find our spiritual selves and to transcend this physical existence. The author feels most people are self absorbed and still seeking to fill their lives with material goods and the rat race, but the recent 2+ year long recession, global economic crisis, high employment, financial meltdowns, financial scams, and other issues have opened people's eyes and we need to shed our material sides, live simpler, spread love around the world, help your neighbor, etc.
One quote from the book is the following: "So why be bogged down with fourteen irrelevant people, two tons of useless junk, and a brain full of worry? When, really, you're just practicing to be part of an intergalactic lightstream of Love?"
I'm all for world peace, getting rid of useless materialistic garbage, simplifying my life, and I like helping people. I've also had those moments where I felt connected to the universe and realized I was a small spec living a life, but I was connected to everything, but at the same time I also realized 90% or more of the world doesn't feel this way. I could and should focus on my own spiritual development and should help others, but at the same time I can't just forget the reality of the world we live in and that most people I meet won't have this altruistic, enlightened, and positive mindset.
Of her 10 things to do the number 1 item is to cry. Just cry and wail and scream and let things out. I know keeping things inside and bottled up isn't healthy, but I also know that society doesn't look at crying as a positive thing, especially in public. People feel uncomfortable and often don't know how to respond, so while crying may be a good release, there is also a time and a place. As a kid and a male crying was a no no and there are only a few specific traumatic moments where I felt crying was good for my own personal situation.
Overall this book does have some good advice and I feel the message overall is positive and tries to be uplifting, but at the same time there is a large dose of naivety that just drags the book down and makes it feel like a farce.
You may as well just say to someone in a crisis, "Don't worry about it. Change what you are doing, get rid of all your material possessions, cry on the couch a few times a day for a few weeks, realize you're not perfect, we're all going to die and it is a good idea to be at peace with that and explore your spiritual side, and everything will work out in the end for good or bad."
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2010
What a graceful, serene, approach to life's disappointments and not-so-great surprises. After an 18 year marriage to an addict, this book was just what I needed for my life transition. Thank you!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This is a book that is exceptionally suited to the times. When we experience "tectonic shifts" in our lives, due to outside events beyond our control, e.g. the loss of a job, loved ones, health, among others, it is time for us to awake our nascent powers which have been lying in "cryogenic suspension" and carry on. (The expressions within inverted commas are taken from the book itself). And of crises, especially during the countdown to the year 2012, there are aplenty. Seldom in human history has job loyalty been valued less and union activity, less effective. At times like these, when institutions are falling like ninepins and ordinary people being pressed to the wall, books like this can be a godsend. We live in times when such books are desperately needed.
This book is not the only one of its kind. Dale Carnegie's " How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" was a forerunner. It has been followed by a multitude of other Self help books, prominent among them being Susan Jeffers' very popular "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway", "End the Struggle and Dance with Life" and "Embracing Uncertainty": New Age literature is a multimillion dollar industry. Yet, amongst them all, this book stands out.
Why? The reason is: it is realistic enough to promise nothing. That is, anything material. All it promises is a feeling of quiet omnipotence, a fragile thread of knowing. And the writer makes it clear that this fragile thread, once found, has to be held onto, in order to emerge from the ensuing chaos. Most other books do not do this. A good many of them, especially those who propagate the "Law of Attraction", can be a trifle too glib about tangible material results in their writings and presentations.
The author is no stranger to personal upheavals in her own life. She mentions a few of them at the start in the introduction section of the book, in order to establish her credentials. It appears, however, that the idea of this book, came to her,as she helped a dear friend deal with some severe crises in his life. In connection with her conversations with him, she hit upon ten strategies to deal with life's problems. These strategies form the content of this book.
The book has been beautifully written. The language is intense, hard-hitting, no-nonsense wisdom, yet surprisingly, mellifluous and poetic in its reach. Replete with case studies, to illustrate her points, the author also asks a number of pertinent questions at the end of each chapter. These questions can be an invaluable asset to the reader in providing answers to the often asked questions "Why did this happen to me?" and "What can I do to get out of this mess?"
This is a book where one recognizes the authenticity of what the author means when she talks of the "dark night of the soul". In no way does she undermine or diminish the effort required to emerge from the mists surrounding the same. Neither, does she amplify unnecessarily the rewards of coming out of a challenging situation with self esteem intact, at least as far as material rewards go, even though, material well being may very well also follow suit. In that sense, there is little New Age mysticism about this book, it advocates solely emotional and spiritual maturity to solve life's problems. And of course, it is a joy to read, personally I found it hard to put down.
I recommend this book highly to all, especially those who are facing a turnaround in their lives. They will find invaluable strength and solace.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2010
I found this book to be both very inspirational and practical as well. The author covers a lot of ground in this relatively short book, highlighting numerous examples of real-life people who have risen above various crises to live better lives in the end, combined with some practical suggestions for how to apply her recommendations. This title is a great tool for these challenging economic times, and for dealing with any other difficulties one may encounter in life. I highly recommend it as a spiritual and personal growth resource. Here's one of my favorite passages from it:
"Persistence is the journey of effectiveness that allows you to hope. It is the energy that wants to get things done, to assist you in moving from crisis to solution. Persistence can take you from debt to solvency, from heartbreak to love, from sickness to health, from foreclosure to having a home. Emotionally, it can take you from fear to joy; spiritually, it can deliver you from despair to peace. So persist, be steadfast in your undertaking, for only the path consistently traveled can deliver you to the outcome you long for. Whatever your battle, it's never easy. The monsters never just slink back into the woods with their tails between their legs. They will fight you for every breath. There is a battle in this universe for every inch of light, and only those who persist will rise to behold the astonishing light of the sunrise."
33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2011
In Chapter 7, "Integrate Your Loss," the author tells a story about a client named Heather who had recently suffered the loss of a beloved cat. Kingma describes the death of the cat as having been "flattened by a car." We learn that over the years, Heather had lost a number of animal companions to death or disappearance, and the grief connected to each loss had compounded (as grief will do), bringing Heather to a life filled with sorrow. I agree that the grief needed to be released and healed, however this author actually suggested to Heather that the loss of these beloved animals were "lesser" experiences that occurred in order to help prepare Heather for some so-called larger loss in her future.
It turns out that Heather's father, whom she'd never really known, had recently died (to continue the insensitive vernacular, Kingma might have described his passing as having "kicked the bucket," but of course, in her anthropocentric view, this absent father had more value than a simple little cat).
Kingma seems to succeed in leading a distraught Heather to somehow accept that years (perhaps decades) of loss related to her devoted animal companions were helpful little preparations for her father's eventual demise, though Heather states in the book that they'd not ever even had a meaningful conversation. Poor Heather comes across as a slightly rattled woman, and it saddens me to see her fragile, needy acceptance of Kingma's pronouncements. That is the power of a therapist, something that is worthy of concern.
Not so long ago in the USA, women and African-Americans (and other cultures) were placed in the category of "lesser" beings. People like Kingma propogate the idea that animals are inferior and may be used for human benefit -- that it is OK, perhaps humorous to refer to a pet's death as if it were no more than a simple incident of roadkill. The loss of an animal companion is traumatic in itself, with counseling and bereavement groups dedicated to this particular process of release and healing.
Finally, the book is derivative and simplistic. I do not recommend it, primarily because the author is not, in my opinion, an enlightened, progressive woman or someone who truly understands or empathizes with the various causes of deep pain in a person's life.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I recommend "The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart" as a guide through tough times, with one significant caveat: if the idea that crisis happens for a reason will increase your distress, then avoid this book. I think there is a very fine line between saying that we can find meaning as we go through crisis, versus the crisis happening to teach us the lessons we need to learn--and this book leaned too far in the latter direction. From the introduction: "...everything you need to live through this current anguish is within you. You are blessed. Your life is designed. If this crisis weren't meant to be part of your life, it would not be happening." That idea will be a deal-breaker for some potential readers. I can't imagine saying that to someone who has lost a child, for example.
In my particular case, I could skip over that idea and disagree with it, without taking it personally. I did choose this book during a time of crisis, and its simple messages provided helpful guideposts for me, like lanterns on a foggy road. I appreciate that Rose Kingma's writing can help readers journey through times when their suffering is so great that not many other people would understand. The chapter that helped me most was "Persist," to carry on in the face of discouragement, during a time of "intense, emotionally devastating circumstances or bunches of hugely difficult things that have stacked up all at once."
When things get so bad that even your dearest, most patient friends don't know what to say anymore, this book will "go there" with you and help you find your way through.