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A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last Paperback – April 14, 1998


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A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last + Who Dies?: An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying + A Gradual Awakening
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Tower (April 14, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609801945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609801949
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Socrates believed that we should "always be occupied in the practice of dying" in order to appreciate our living. So imagine that you only have one year left to live. What would you do differently? For one year Stephen Levine (also the author of Who Dies?) consciously chose activities, relationships, and spiritual practices that reflected life's urgency rather than life's complacency. From his experience comes this year-long program of strategies and guided meditations to help us feel satiated when our numbers come up. Lessons include "Gratitude," "Disposing of the Corpse," "Finding the Lotus Before Winter," and "Beyond the House of Death." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

On New Year's Eve in 1994, Levine and his wife, Ondrea, vowed to live the next year as if it were their last. As a counselor for the terminally ill and author of many works on spirituality and dying, Levine has come to believe that preparing for or "practicing" death reminds one of the beauty of life. In this production of his book (Crown, 1997), Levine himself relates his experiences and emotions in his yearlong experiment in "conscious living." He emphasizes his philosophies about life and death rather than giving a month-by-month account. Drawing on the dogma of many faiths including Buddhism, Native American religions, and Christianity, Levine describes the dying process as a change of state. Laden with New Age terminology, Levine's prose tends to sound stilted. Recommended only where the author has a strong following.?Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

145 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Brad4d VINE VOICE on May 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Stephen Levine has worked with the Dying for several years, and wrote this book as an exercise to prepare to die by preparing to live. He relates his personal insights of the dynamic process of dying, and suggests an exercise to be undertaken by one who knows they have... only one year to live.
This is an exceptionally difficult book to review. On the five-star side, the author has some exceptional credentials and the work has been well-reviewed by people with a wide variety of perspectives. Some of his exercises (such as his "soft-belly" meditation, his advice to carefully observe our thoughts-as-they-arise, and his suggestions to recall and bid farewell to our most pleasant memories and to forgive our worst ones) are simply wonderful. They have aided my own practice immensely. I commend his gentle assurances that, despite our fears, All Should Be Well (most religious leaders have said the same thing). I think the author has made a noble effort to tackle a hugely difficult subject.
On the dark side, however, I wouldn't give this book to someone imminently facing the Great Gulp unless they were pretty comfortable with the New Age view of Death. Many good people feel preparing for death requires much regret, repentance, suffering, uncertainty, angst, fear, etcetera, and this book might provoke outrage from those people at a sensitive time without any corresponding redemptive value (I indeed respect a terminally-ill reviewer who trashed this book). The author seems to feel death should be kind of a peaceable, emotionally blissy, blend-with-the-infinite, far-out sort of experience. I wouldn't exactly say he views death as the spiritual equivalent of a trip to Disneyland but ... you get the picture.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Sheri O. Zampelli VINE VOICE on December 8, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We're all going to die. Levine's book helps us to view life and death from a broader perspective. Levine has spent considerable time working with terminally ill clients. According to him, people on their death bed commonly mourn their unfinished business. Be it unfufilled dreams, broken promises, or unresolved conflicts, life regrets are one of the most troublesome aspects of dying.
Levine's book gave me motivation to begin living each day as if it's my last. It made me consciously aware of the importance of not putting life on hold.
This book also encouraged me to be more accepting and conscious in daily life. Many of us do all we can to avoid pain. Levine believes that accepting and moving through discomfort is actually less painful than tensing up with fear. I believe this applies not only to physical pain, but also mental and emotional discomfort. Many times the events I've resisted and resented the most are the ones that offered the greatest satisfation and personal growth once I got to the other side.
Levine's book made me feel more comfortable with the ideas such as acceptance and humilty. In general, life is simpler and more peaceful when I live in line with these virtues.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Reading & Writing 24/7 on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I see that some reviewers give this book a poor rating because (1) it lacks practical content like making a will and paying off debt, or (2)it does not realistically address the traumatizing emotions felt by a person who is left with only a year to live.

But the book is not for the physically dying. He and others have written books to help people facing that tragic fate. Instead, "A Year to Live" is for those of us who do not want to reach the end of our lives with regrets. The book helps you find joy, gratitude, peace, and forgiveness while we still have plenty of time to enjoy them. The best exercise for accomplishing these states is to imagine what you would do with your life if told you have a year to live. Like the old saying, "No one on their deathbed ever says, 'I should have spent more time at the office.'"

"A Year to Live" is the book to read if you don't want to reach the end of your life with feelings of regret, failure, shame, or loneliness.

I read this book many years ago, and have recommended it many times. Now my husband is going through a crisis of the soul so I just ordered it for him (having loaned my copy out at some point). He is as far from new-agey as they come, yet is finding enormous value in reading it. The key is a willingness to look for the unseen powers of love, forgiveness (etc) and the spirituality inherent in everything.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book has changed my whole outlook on the
world. Because of S. Levine & his insightful
thinking, I went out on my birthday and wrote
down my goals for the year based on what his book
discussed. I am truly thankful for reading this book
as it helped me to realized that NOW is the
time to make changes if you are not happy with
anything in your life. Don't wait for someday.
I want to thank Stephen for this beautiful book and
hope that it is as special and life-changing for
others as it was for me.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
"Meditating on death in order to fully live " could be the sub-title of this book. In dealing with illness and approaching death in our family, I've read almost all of Kubler-Ross's books and while they have been inspirational and her work certainly groundbreaking, I found this book more helpful in terms of describing the experience of dying in a way that allows me to be more able to be at the bedside of our family memeber. Simply in reading it gives one a profound yet extremly practical perspective on dying and of one's own eventual death.
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