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Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal, 10th Anniversary Edition Paperback – Deckle Edge, August 1, 2006
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"Sitting around the table telling stories is not just a way of passing time," writes Rachel Naomi Remen in her introduction to Kitchen Table Wisdom. "It is the way wisdom gets passed along. The stuff that helps us live a life worth remembering." Remen, a physician, therapist, professor of medicine, and long-term survivor of chronic illness, is also a down-home storyteller. Reading this collection of real-life parables feels like a late-night kitchen session with a best friend, munching on leftovers while listening to the good-as-gossip stories of everyday heroes and archetype villains. Every story guides us like a life compass, showing us what's good and lasting about ourselves as well as humanity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Remen is one of a growing number of physicians exploring the spiritual dimension of the healing arts. "Coherent, elegant, mysterious, aesthetic," she writes. "When I first earned my degree in medicine I would not have described life in this way. But I was not on intimate terms with life then." Now Remen is awed by the vitality of the life force, which she witnesses through her work counseling cancer patients and their doctors at Commonweal, a cancer-help center in California, and through her keen eye for the depths of ordinary people. Remen tells of those who, having fallen ill, discovered previously untapped wells of fortitude and who, ironically, gained a peace of mind they had never known when well. She often turns common wisdom on its head. Discussing the meaning of suffering, she cites one woman who mourned the loss of her chest pains after corrective surgery. These pains had come whenever she had compromised her integrity; now her "inner advisor" was gone. Some of the most poignant stories here are of doctors whose professional code rejects overt displays of emotion. Both patients and doctors can come to care profoundly for one another, Remen believes. A heartfelt call for change as well as a display of compassionate and courageous thinking, this meditation will speak especially to those whose lives have been touched by illness. BOMC and One Spirit alternate selections; first serial rights to Family Circle and New Age Journal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Remen is an interesting character herself, but the power of this book is in her compassionate reflection about events in her life -- and in particular her medical practices. I say "practices" because she worked both as a pediatric oncologist and a therapist. My only critique is that I would have liked to have read even more of her stories .. I also enjoyed the small bonus of her description of her home near Mt Tam outside San Francisco, an area I visited only a few weeks ago.