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A Short Course in Happiness After Loss: (and Other Dark, Difficult Times) Paperback – February 29, 2016
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Few could guide us as well through dark moments toward wholeness. It takes a master storyteller and an extraordinarily sensitive soul to speak about loss and happiness in proximity to one another.Maria Sirois, by drawing on personal experience, research, and a lot of heart, can help us all navigate through life's most difficult experiences, so that we can find our way to safety, and even to happiness. -Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier Maria Sirois is a born storyteller and "A Short Course in Happiness After Loss" is full of them, many from unlikely places, like the ground beneath her feet. Maria can extract a story from a rock in the road and such is her talent that we will happily bend down with her when she picks it up, turns it over, and tells us why this particular rock is so important. In the process, she tells us why we're important, too.This is a delicious book, full of truth and generosity and the kind of no-holds-barred honesty that characterizes Maria in person and on the page. -Phyllis Theroux, author of The Journal Keeper What a wonderful book this is! Full of insight drawn from the author's clinical practice, A Short Course in Happiness After Loss deserves a place on your shelf next to When Things Fall Apart, Broken Open, and The Year of Magical Thinking.Beautifully written and tenderly observed, Maria Sirois' meditation on loss and resilience will help you through your darkest hours and fill your heart again with joy. -Mark Matousek, author of When You're Falling, Dive This book tells us how to love truly, fully, and completely in the face of suffering and loss. Maria Sirois writes of her own losses and the losses of others she accompanies in her work as a therapist and teacher. This is a book of beauty and grace, a book that teaches us that happiness waits patiently for those who seek it. -Sherri Mandell, author of The Blessing of a Broken Heart Stunned by the death of her 48-year-old brother, Maria Sirois asks how we summon our strengths to survive the agonies of this world.And she answers her questionwith stories of resiliencefromher own deeply felt experiences, amplified by poetry and the spiritual wisdom of thegreat sages.A trustworthy guide, she earns our confidence through courageous self-revelation.Rather thantuning outencounters withloss and suffering in her life and the lives of others, Maria has gathered them close, allowed them to transform her, and she has developed aset of profound lessonsto teachwhat she has learned along the way.She reminds us, "We suffer. None of us is spared."Inher short course, Maria gives us permission to confront suffering directly, while reminding us of our resilience, capacity to love, andour abilityto endure. -Richard M. Berlin, author of Practice and Secret Wounds Wise, real, and clear, this book offers a way into what we all have to do sooner or later - live alongside death. The words are not prescriptive, giving a pat recipe for managing loss and pain. Instead, with compassion rooted in experience, Maria unwraps little bubbles of hope with each story, honoring the raw truth of grief and the possibility of life waiting in the wings to resurface. If you're trying to figure out how to live in the face of death, and need a rudder to hold onto, grab this book. -Megan McDonough, author of Radically Receptive Meditation"
About the Author
Dr. Maria Sirois is a clinical psychologist, international consultant and inspirational speaker who works in the intersections of psychology and wellbeing. She is a master teacher and facilitator, devoted to the science of happiness and the art of crafting a life and a work that embodies health, passion and success. As a positive psychologist and consultant, she focuses on the resilience of the human spirit, particularly when under chronic stress and/or the shock of things falling apart. Her first book, Every Day Counts: Lessons in Love, Faith and Resilience From Children Facing Illness is used as a teaching tool at wellness centers, hospitals and hospices and offers wisdom from those who are dying. Her home is in the Berkshire Mountains.
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Dr. Sirois is very accomplished and pedigreed; yet that is by no means the sole source of her authority or connection. Yes, her academic grounding and cognitive understanding is deep. She is “there” with us, in the swamp of life, as fully and authentically as one can be. Her personal disclosure in this book – particularly her tremendous love for, and loss of, her brother -- makes it easy to trust and to hear her. She brings much practical wisdom and lived example that makes that wisdom more accessible. She builds confidence that we too can bravely take steps on a path towards wholeness and happiness. Her approach is quietly (yet deeply) informed by the science of positive psychology, and her authenticity makes the reader want to take it in.
Already I have read it twice and gifted it twice– and that will continue. For friends who have had struggles or tragic losses (after the phase of bringing dinners or helping with life's logistics has moved into "normal"), gifting Sirois's book is a tangible way to show up. I know they are grieving, but I don’t always know what to say. Thankfully, this little book is something beautiful I can offer; she says more than I ever could. So I will turn to it, again and again, and wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same.
This book is for anyone who wants to learn how to create more happiness in their lives, no matter what their current circumstances are. I highly recommend this book. It is well-written, captivating, and made me cry and laugh. The short reflections make this book perfect when we just have a few minutes during those challenging times and want something that feeds our hearts, souls, and minds.
Maria's writing is inviting, poetic, and pragmatic. No preachiness or jargon. One of my favorite lines: "We cannot change what is. But we can change how we see our day. We can attend to what is good, each day, for a moment here and a moment there, and in this way begin to build an optimism that is real and sustaining, allowing for reality as it is – with both its sharpness and graces."