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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood Paperback – February 1, 1993

4.6 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this gentle book, therapist Muller explains that the private place to which a traumatized child flees remains the adult's spiritual home.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Wayne Muller is an ordained minister and therapist and founder of Bread for the Journey, an innovative organization serving families in need. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, he is Senior Scholar at the Fetzer Institute and a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. He also runs the Institute for Engaged Spirituality and gives lectures and retreats nationwide. He is the author of Legacy of the Heart, a New York Times bestseller, and How, Then, Shall We Live? He lives with his family in northern California.

"From the Hardcover edition."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (February 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671797840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671797843
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marion VINE VOICE on September 2, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I once heard Oprah say that we need to nurture ourselves the way we might nurture and care for our best friend. . . and that really blew me away as I have always been very hard on myself. This book gave me the tools to begin to learn how to do just that. Part of me will always be the frightened little girl that grew up in a houseful of alcoholics, trying to make everything that was topsy-turvy seem somehow normal, but this book has helped me to let go of and learn from that painful part of my past.
I've practically underlined the whole book, it contains so much wisdom and excellent advice! I want to highly recommend it to anyone who has suffered a painful childhood. It fills you with hope and gives you the courage to look at the garbage from your past, toss it out and get on with your life.
To quote part of the Publisher's Weekly blurb on the back of the book, "Like a lullaby, this gentle book soothes the spirit, reaching out to the inner child and reassuring the wounded adult..."
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Format: Paperback
As a survivor of a very dysfunctional and abusive family and as someone who suffers from depression as a result, I can say that Legacy of the Heart is without doubt the single best book I have ever read on the subject of childhood trauma and abuse. It is vast and open, appropriate for so many different wounds we confront as adults. More importantly for me (since I am a professor and an "intellectual"), this is not the vapid New Age, psychobabble that is so often dished out. This is substantive, thoughtful, thorough, articulate. If you like Thomas Moore's books, you will love Wayne Muller! If I were to give only one book to a suffering friend, it would be this one.
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Format: Paperback
Wayne Muller's gentle approach to the reader's taking ownership of his pain without allowing victimhood to take ownership of the reader is the most valuable non-fiction I ever have read. Muller takes the reader through spriritual practices that promote growth from experience of ever the most hurtful sort. He uses ample and varied examples to show how we repeatedly shoot ourselves in the foot. Better yet, he helps change thinking patterns to avoid those life-laming foot-wounds.
Everyone has some sort of pain from childhood. Some pain can cut more deeply and last longer than others. Muller validates all pain and all the scars it leaves. But, he takes the reader through the pain, without denying it, to a plain of coping with it. And, he helps the reader climb a mountain from which he can view the pain that helped shape but no longer defines the reader.
Muller's book is a gift to every person who reads it. The author combines eastern, Indian and Christian beliefs and practices to produce life-saving, life-altering and life-affirming practices and phiolsophy.
Thank you, Wayne Muller!
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Format: Paperback
As the product of a dysfunctional childhood with trauma, abuse and alcoholism. Legacy of the Heart was not only insightful, but soothing, comforting, and offered hope! Although I have had many accomplishments and successes in my life, I have suffered deep depression and conflicts in my relationships because of the way I thought about myself and others due to my early family experiences. I was diagnosed with mental illness, attempted suicide and thought at times I was doomed to a life of emotional pain.
Although I had never stopped believing in God, I never truly felt a spiritual connection with Him. In fact, I didn't feel a true connection to anyone, even my spouse or closest friends. I felt so alone.....
Outwardly, I am a competent, intelligent and talented person. I make friends easily and people seem to like me ... Yet inside I have felt like an emotional mess and eventually my emotional/psychological problems play out and cause ruptures in my career and relationships ....furthering my belief that I am destined to have an unhappy life. I have taken anti-depressants, herbs & vitamins, and tried acupuncture. I have read numberous self-help books and been to several therapists. I have spent time in hospitalized psychiatric care.
Yes, these things have helped me, but I kept struggling with the same issues and problems over and over. I thought I was "Different"... my case was so horrible, so complex, so confusing, no one could ever really understand the real me. Therapy seemed often to increase my pain, in trying to understand the "why" and uncover the source of every painful thing that ever happened and explain or blame every emotion on childhood ... I wasn't solving the problems of today. I wasn't learning how to cope.
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Format: Paperback
Wayne Muller brings us a classic on how to deal with the invariable wounds of childhood.

"A painful childhood invariably focuses our attention on the inner life. In response to childhood hurt, we learn to cultivate a heightened awareness, and sharpen our capacity to discern how things move and change in our environment. Childhood pain encourages us to watch things more closely, to listen more carefully, to attend to the subtle imbalances that arise within and around us. We develop an exquisite ability to feel the feelings of others, and we become exceptionally mindful of every conflict, every flicker of hope or despair, every piece of information that may hold some teaching for us. Thus, family pain broke us open and set our hearts on a pilgrimage in search of the love and belonging, safety and abundance, joy and peace that were missing from our childhood story. Seen through this lens, family sorrow is not only a painful wound to be endured, analyzed, and treated. It may in fact become a seed that gives birth to our spiritual healing and awakening." (p. xiii)

"Your life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be opened. Just as the pain, hurt, and suffering that came to you as a child were powerfully real, so is the tangible resilience of your spirit equally vital and alive. " (p. xiv)

Muller suggests a variety of meditations and exercises that help to absorb, accept and transform our negative reactions to our childhood wounds and to grow and deepen our emotional and spiritual awareness in the process.
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