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Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy Hardcover – April 17, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* While this could easily be called an informal guide to what it takes to be happy, that would be too simple a description for such a wise book. As the popular author and lecturer Chittister notes, most of us seldom have the economic or social freedom to find that something that fulfills us. “So how can we know what we’re meant to do with our lives?” That is the core question, and Chittister spends the bulk of the book sharing stories from those folk brave enough to change course, sometimes relatively late in their lives, while offering her own insight on the meanings of happiness and purpose. She has her own definition of happiness, of course (“Happiness,” she writes, “comes from the inside”), as well as what it means to be successful; but the essence of the book concerns itself with the fundamental concept of call, that is, of discovering where we do—and do not—fit in. Essentially, Chittister’s slim volume deals with how to lead a meaningful life at any age (whether early adulthood, middle age, or later on); “No one else can answer for us,” she observes, since finding our own way is a unique journey. Sure to be a modern classic of its genre. --June Sawyers

Review

"Joan Chittister is a legend.  In this book she reminds us that when we connect our passions to the world's pain, everybody wins.  Joan's book is a wonderful corrective to the piles of narcissistic, fluffy "find yourself" books and self-help theology which often miss the secret to fulfillment which is -- if we want to find our lives, we've got to give them away... we are made to live for something bigger than ourselves.  Joan nails it.  She invites you to cling to Jesus, dive into the world's pain, and do something daring and beautiful with your life."
 
 -Shane Claiborne, cofounder of THE SIMPLE WAY and author of COMMON PRAYER
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Image; 3/18/12 edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030795398X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307953988
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Love Thy Enemy VINE VOICE on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Reverend Sister Joan CHIttister OSB, past president of the US Benedictine Prioresses, past president of the LCWR, and well respected and sought after author of countless spiritual treatises in monastic and Roman Catholic theology, here distills her decades of contemplation and practice of the religious life in order to share this wisdom with us.

We may have read gratefully her
The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

We may study well her careful commentary
The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century (Spiritual Legacy Series)

and several other related studies. Here we discover the cornerstone for all her years of learning.

The purpose of this book expressly seeks those who face a life decision at any time in life, with all which this entails. In a word this book aids "both to provoke thinking and to clarify it." Absent the constant and caring presence of persistent spiritual director, we find within this wise book direction to a more complete, purposeful, joyful, passionate life, as this life long and skilled spiritual director guides us with the wisdom she has gained at great cost.

Nearly all of the twenty two sections of this book thus bear titles of caring, probing, provocative questions.

Whose calling is it?
What does it mean, "to have a purpose?"
Why does it take so long to find out who I am?
The First Call: an invitation to adulthood
Is everything we'd like to do really a call?
How do I know I'm doing what I'm meant to do?
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Format: Hardcover
In the face of the "great danger" that looms whenever a life decision must be made, so many people will turn away and take the safe way out. But the result of this is a life that is unfulfilling, frustrating, and "barely lived." And that's what happens when we focus on the bare minimum - survival instead of abundance.

Sister Joan provides a framework for charting a life that is deeply lived and deeply invested. By recognizing with gratitude the opportunities that show themselves to us, we can live lives that are incredibly fulfilling and also make a great contribution to the world. But it means taking risks!

However, risks are by definition dangerous. So that's why they must be wisely taken. And the best wisdom is based in one's personal call in life. Sister Joan provides advice for recognizing and listening to this call. This book brings to mind wisdom-filled real-life stories such as I Walked to the Moon and Almost Everybody Waved: The Curiously Inspiring Adventures of a Free Spirit Who Changed Lives and The Seven Storey Mountain, helping the reader select the most rewarding (and sometimes demanding) path in life.

For those in the process of making major decisions - whether charting one's early course in life or changing directions later on - this book is highly recommended for the wisdom and depth it provides.
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By SEH on October 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book and it's essential for anyone whose life is changing. I know that my life will be changing soon because my spouse is living her last 6 months according to her Doctors. I am going to read it again because I know there is a depth and scope that is difficult to handle in one reading. Buy this book if you have any doubts about the way your life is going!
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I'm one of those artists who finds it necessary to have a steady income, insurance, and security of a full-time job. For me, the book is more of an affirmation since I know what my life's passion is. The book reminds me that without art making in my life, I'd be sacrificing more than painting... I'd be denying my gifts and the creativity that fulfills a part of me a paycheck cannot.
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This author is able to relate to the universal dilemma of "searching". "Who are we?; what is truly our mission in life?" She obviously provides no specific answers, since that is individual, but rather guides us to assess our individual gifts---and apply them in some way to the service of the world, rather than the self --whether in big or small ways.

She nails thoughts and feelings to the extent of producing a "WOW! That's how I feel/felt". A very good read for anyone who feels that there is something missing in their supposed success.
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I was excited to purchase this book. I expected it to provide guidance on how to identify your gifts and how to follow the path. Instead, it served as more of a pep rally for why doing so would lead to true happiness and comments that the way to identify your gifts is to think about what fills you with passion. I found it to be full of many obvious statements that didn't provide much in the way of actionable advice.
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Format: Hardcover
What brings you life, fuels your passion, gives you energy? What special talents or gifts have you been given that make the world a more beautiful, loving hopeful place in which to live?

Internationally-known author, lecturer, and Benedictine sister, Joan Chittister encourages readers to consider these questions to lead us to happiness. "When we finally take that first step toward being honest about what we ourselves really believe, really want to do, really enjoy most, are really most committed to doing for others--and do it--we become a person who is a gift to the rest of the human race" (pg. 99).

Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy invites us to look at our God-given talents, our innate passions, and how using our gifts in order to help others. She explains how taking action using our talents to do something purposeful that helps others is what will lead us to having a genuinely satisfying life.

Another important message conveyed is that it's never too late. Some people feel that they can't possibly go in a completely new direction when it comes to their education, career, ministry, hobbies..., but Joan illustrates that simply isn't true. Discovering our purpose and how we can use who we are and what we have to help others is a life-long process. We grow, learn more about ourselves, and how our strengths can be used to make life better for others.

Following your call rather than falling back on what you know and can do that will most likely lead to a life that's successful in the world's eyes certainly goes against the grain.
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