Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life
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“Self and Soul is one of the most eloquent, elegant, and spiritually rich descriptions of the human journey I’ve read. It is as much a prayer as a book—a poetic example of the healing power of ‘giving voice’ and proclaiming one’s inner truth.”
—Larry Dossey, M.D.
( www.dosseydossey.com )
author of The Science of Premonitions
Spiritual seekers are romanticized as adventurers with amazing lives. Problem is, they also often are discontent. Their journeys are about looking but never finding. Success is always just over yonder. It’s one town over, just around the bend.
Lorraine Ash understands and personalizes the journey in Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life, a spiritual memoir that addresses the unique nature of the spiritual journey in the twenty-first century. The questions that propelled her drive many of us: What should I do? Where do I fit? Who do I ask? What does my life mean?
Yet they are asked in an unprecedented landscape. Sixteen percent of Americans live without a religious affiliation, according to the U.S. Census, and forty-eight percent describe themselves as “spiritual and religious.” The Internet age makes it easy for people to share aspects of their faiths and promotes a mixing and matching hitherto unknown in human history.
Never has it been more important, Ash writes, to fashion a faith born of belief and experience, a faith rooted in inner landscapes where we speak directly with the divine, make our own meaning, and find the resiliency to thrive and change in a challenging world.
In these pages Ash describes the voicelessness she experienced while seeking—in part a result of having her prayers written for her—and a sudden and unexpected encounter with the divine in a hospital bed in the wee hours. She had just delivered her stillborn child and was fighting for her own life. During her recovery, she found the black-and-white world of her inner life start to glow with the colors of a gloaming she sees while on a picnic in the hills of Northwest New Jersey. A divine force was beginning to animate her from the inside.
With color and nuance came new possibilities and a voice, at first small, in which Ash learned to speak from her heart. Her new inner life led her to temples, alternative healers on the mesas of Arizona, wisdom from the Tao, and a stunning revelation at Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece in Pennsylvania. Along the way Ash encounters sages but also people of ill will who are never a destination but nevertheless impart important lessons.
In her childhood her father used to ask, “Where does it all take us in the end?” But, unhappy with nebulous and ever-elusive destinations, Ash changed the question for herself to: “Where are we now and how can it be made better?” For the quality of all our tomorrows, she concludes, will be the same as the quality of today.
Self and Soul is for people living lives of quiet desperation, questioning what it means to strive and succeed in conventional ways, and wondering if their efforts matter. It is a encouragement and inspiration for people who want the peace and knowing that comes with living a divinely inspired life.
Praise for Self and Soul
“Lorraine Ash writes eloquently and with arresting honesty. Her journey illuminates those human sensibilities that best bring us into a working relationship with the wholeness-making energies of god.”
—Robert C. Fuller, Ph.D.
author of Spiritual, But Not Religious:
Understanding Unchurched American Religion
“Self and Soul is the interior story of a surprisingly dramatic spiritual journey that masterfully illustrates abstract concepts such as despair and peace in vivid concrete details.”
professor emeritus and author of The Women in the Mirror and One Page at a Time: On a Writing Life
“Lorraine Ash’s writing leads us into the heart of the supreme secret that all sages, saints and wise people have sought for millennia: we are that which we search for.”
author of Tying Rocks to Clouds: Meetings and Conversations with Wise and Spiritual People
“Lorraine Ash moves us from the Catholicism of her youth into her search for the divine promised land. On the journey she gently winds her way back to its true place—the sacred home within. Her writing enchants and uplifts, and her noble heart will win yours.”
—Julie Bond Genovese
author of Nothing Short of Joy
“Once again Lorraine Ash takes us on a quiet journey into the divine depths of the soul. This book lingers in the heart and gives us permission to mine the meaning in our own hidden heartbreaks and private joys.”
shamanic practitioner/teacher ( www.ravensdrum.com )
and author of Life Between Falls: A Travelogue Through Grief and the Unexpected
“This is riveting reading that offers lucid and deeply meaningful descriptions for experiences and intuitions that previously seemed indescribable.”
—John E. Welshons
spiritual teacher/lecturer ( www.onesoulonelove.com )
and author of One Soul, One Love, One Heart and Awakening from Grief
Sample Self and Soul
Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life
By Lorraine Ash
Published December 2012 by Cape House Books
Trade paperback $12.95 US, £7.95 UK, €9.95
Ebook $6.99 US
Audiobook $14.95 US