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Letters to Mitch: The Healing Power of Grief, Love & Truth Paperback – October 28, 2016
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About the Author
Marshall is the author of “Letters to Mitch – The Healing Power of Grief, Love & Truth” and visionary coach and speaker. Marshall is a contributing writer for Huffington Post and has been featured in Elephant Journal, Tiny Buddha, Body & Soul, 2GB Radio, 2UE Radio, ABC, CBS, Yahoo News, Fox, NBC and Movember Radio. The suicide loss of Marshall’s elder brother in 2002 became the catalyst for deep self-inquiry and personal awakening. That experience changed his life forever and allowed him to develop a unique blend of teachings. It’s these methods that Marshall now uses to help others expand their awareness, live their visions and a life of freedom. A student first, teacher second – Marshall continues to further his education and was recently accepted into Columbia University to complete his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and Education with a concentration in Spirituality and Mind Body Practice. When Marshall isn't writing and coaching, he loves playing basketball and watching the NBA - he's a huge Dallas Mavericks fan! Marshall is already writing his second non-fiction book and has plans to enter the commercial fiction space in the not too distant future. To contact and connect with Marshall, please visit his website at www.marshalldunn.com.
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The opening page of this book did little to alleviate that trepidation. Near the end of the first page, Dunn writes about his brother’s suicide, “I can’t thank Mitch enough for deciding to leave us.” It is a bold and challenging opening to a book about grief and tragedy and healing. It did not sit well with me, but my curiosity was piqued. I wanted to know how on earth Dunn could make such a definitive and challenging declaration about his brother’s choice to end his own life?
The book is provocative, heartbreaking, emotional. It offers a unique perspective and an interesting insight into dealing with loss. The emotion in these pages is palpable. And, though it is well-written, it is difficult reading. The grief Dunn describes in the moments where he learns of his brother’s death; where he attends his brother’s funeral and delivers the eulogy; where Dunn finds himself at absolute rock bottom in a dark hole of grief, lonely and isolated in Japan, is confronting and painful. These pages are brimming with love and truth in those moments, and Dunn writes with powerful clarity and disarming wit. Often, even in the midst of powerfully sad scenes, Dunn manages to make you smile when you least expect it, like in the following, “Days after I took the drugs, I would get highly emotional for no apparent reason, like while I was watching Michael Jordan Gatorade ads on TV.”
There are kernels of wisdom on many pages. This is a book about the healing power of grief, love and truth; but it is, especially, a book about self, a book about finding contentedness with yourself, about being purposeful, being positive and happy. The prospect of taking advice from a renowned Catholic philosopher is not particularly appealing to me, but I found myself returning again and again to the quote from Blaise Pascal, which Dunn cites: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Since completing this book I’ve tried to find more of those little moments, here and there, to sit and think, with no phone in my hand, no screen before me, moments without distraction, moments of quiet, to think. I find myself perusing recollections of the day’s interactions, with my kids, with my wife, with my friends, and considering what I might have said differently, what I can do differently, next time, to be a better dad, husband, friend.
Parts of this book will not be for everyone. I disliked references to Deepak Chopra, whom Dunn draws much inspiration from. I am not a fan. But Dunn makes reference to Chopra, declares he draws much inspiration from Chopra, and then, fortunately, moves on with his own words. There are, also, and quite obviously and understandably when discussing death, numerous references to religion/ God/ the supernatural. These may or may not be of interest to some readers, but, to my surprise, I found Dunn’s discussion of daily prayer to be particularly interesting. His daily prayer, which he does not associate with “anything remotely religious”, centers on two words: “THANK YOU”.
Dunn explains, “I could be having a swim in the ocean, admiring a city view, laughing with a friend, engaged in a meeting, or seeing an old family photo with Mitch. Whatever it is, a silent “thank you” is my prayer, which I practice all throughout my day. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference, especially when I’m finding it difficult to appreciate anything because of the pain in loss”.
There is much truthful power in these words.
Letters To Mitch is an unflinching investigation of grief and loss. It will challenge readers on many levels. But as Dunn notes, “change can be found within challenge”, and change is something we should seek out and embrace.
Firstly, I want to give a STANDING OVATION to Marshall Dunn for writing such heartfelt & inspiring book from such an authentic, honest and vulnerable place.
If I think of one word to describe the book, I'd choose: INSPIRING. It's an invitation to be authentic, vulnerable and real first with yourself and with rest of the world and how healing and liberating it is to be so. It's an invitation to ask youself some real questions and get out of your comfort zone. It's an invitation to dive deep into yourself, to heal your wounds and let go anything that is not you, any fear, limiting beliefs and definitions that are holding you back from being fully present, truly happy and totally being yourself even in the face of grief and challenges.
Whether you are going through a suicide loss, or any kind of grief, challenge and struggles and you feel like you can't see the silver lining and the light out of the tunnel; reading this book will help you, will hold your hand and guide you to find your way out of the tunnel into the light. It will show that instead of staying stuck, sad and a victim of our circumstances, there is another way which if we choose it, will carry us to enlightenment, liberation, joy and happiness. As Rumi says "The wound is the place where the Light enters you." And Marshall's story demonstrates a perfect example. He elaborates cleverly how from a state of confusion, darkness, sadness, pain, anger, rage, disappointment, anxiety, he could arrive to a place of clarity, joy, authenticity, connectedness, peace, and joy which we all have access to if we choose to. Reading his book will inspire you to choose it and will soothe your heart's ache and be your friend in hard times. It came in a perfect time for me as I'm going through my own challenges in life and this book has been a great friend and a guide for me.