These intimate sharings inspire us to look at our ideas about illness and wellness and to reach a deeper understanding of self-love and compassion.
Gerald Jampolsky, M.D. and Diane Cirincione, PH.D.
Founder Attitudinal Healing Center
Authors of A Mini-Course for Life and Love is Letting Go of Fear
This is more than a book. It is a healing conversation and I felt myself joining in. Laurie Hope has shown how her own path can be a resource for any human journey. I especially appreciated the useful and practical exercises in the last chapter.
“David Richo, PhD
Author of Everyday Commitments: Choosing a Life of Love,
Realism, and Acceptance
Filled with wisdom and compassion, Laurie Hope’s book The Unchosen Path will be of immense benefit to anyone wanting to use illness as a path to awakening. Speaking from her own heart as well as generously quoting many others who have deeply explored spiritual awakening, Laurie’s book is a true gift.
“This book is a powerful witness to the integrity of the experience of suffering. Ms. Hope finds a common voice and vision among the lives of people who are suffering from painful, chronic illness. There is a deep listening here: The people suffer pain. They don’t like it. But they allow the pain to inform, transform, and ennoble their lives in a way that makes it easier for all of us to deal with suffering. Hope is eloquent, compassionate, humorous, and, in the end, wise. As a chaplain and a priest, I live and work with people who suffer. I found in this book rich resources for my ministry. Most simply, this book is a lovely piece of work. In it, Wisdom has found her voice. She sings, laughs, cries, and gently touches the burden of woe. Don’t just read this book, live with it.”
Rev. Christina M. Fernandez
VP Mission Integration & Spiritual Care
Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco, CA
“Laurie Hope brings her intelligence, understanding and experience both as a healer as well as a patient, to this simple yet profound guide to help people with chronic illness. As a physician, I highly recommend this helpful book to those seeking comfort, insight and methods to navigate this difficult terrain. However, you don’t have to have an illness to relate to this book. Reading it was like reading poetry from the souls who shared their hearts.”
Michael S. Jones, M.D.
Laurie’s book is an extraordinary gift to anyone living with chronic illness. I’ve sent two of my clients to reading it after I’d read and felt deeply moved by its collection of incredibly tender and self-compassionate stories and quotes. Both women have found enormous support and affirmation for their journeys as they read.
It’s a powerful, empowering and important book not only for people coping with chronic illness but, as well, for those who love them and, truly, for anyone of us! (Since we’re each living in what is likely a temporarily-able body if we’re expecting to live a long life!) Robyn Posin, Ph.D.
Laurie Hope is aptly named. She has written an inspiring, comforting and yes, even practical, book for people who suffer chronic pain and the isolation and despair that accompany it. I only wish I had had it — I had NOTHING outside my own resources — when I was bedridden myself w/rheumatoid arthritis in 1977. First of all, her chapter headings in themselves point to the specific issues that people in unrelenting pain face: Pain & Suffering, Difficult (Indeed!) emotions, Working w/the Mind (consciousness is the salvation of course, learning how to turn toward rather than run away from our suffering, the latter a futile and increasingly desperate endeavor), Control (best viewed as a mode of empowerment), compassion (a technical term in Buddhism which refers to not separating ourselves out from the rest of the universe) and that major healer: Relationships with other humans (and how tricky they become when one is isolated and in pain). For a Zen practitioner, and indeed any student of consciousness, one’s efforts focus on aligning one’s self with one’s own experience in the present moment, whatever that experience is. This does not come naturally when the present moment is painful, and so we are able to speak of “Zen training,” the art of inclusion, viz, Ram Dass’ bright observation on p43: “The purpose of our lives is to learn to keep an open heart in hell.”
Laurie Hope delights the consciousness with profound and witty quotes from various people that she interviewed and read about, ranging from acquaintances to well-known students of the mind, in an attempt to gain some perspective on her own chronic pain. She shares these with us in a most enthusiastic way. I constantly felt her pulling at my arm and telling me the latest with a grin. Some memorable ones: “I use my illness to connect me to the human experience to break down the sense of separation between myself and others. Everyone suffers. I am no different. Why me? Why not me? Why should it be someone else? When I realize that everyone suffers, my own suffering becomes more bearable because it is not so personal. I am not a victim, I am just having a human experience, and I can either allow my suffering to separate me from others or join me to them.” (p17) “Pleasure and pain are not equal, but are equally interesting.”(p34) I highly recommend this wise and generous book for treating the spirit that must transform the experience of pain and anguish.
Darlene Cohen, M.A., neurophysiolgogy
Author of 3 books including Turning Suffering Inside Out
former Head Priest of Russian River Zendo in Guerneville, CA
The Unchosen Path will inspire those who are facing chronic physical challenges and help their loved ones understand the physical, emotional and spiritual daily realities they face. Since it is a collection of interviews in spoon-size pieces, you can open the book anywhere and have a short, heartening read. Laurie Hope has written a penetrating commentary for each chapter.
I loved this book. It is unique in its approach and I love how it is laid out. I have to say that I enjoyed the author’s quotes the most – she has quite a gift for writing and the wisdom to match it. The Unchosen Path fills a niche out there for people who are suffering from chronic illnesses (as opposed to those who are dying, have cancer, etc.). I like that it is not a fix-it book, but more a meditation on the process of surrendering to and accepting our suffering which is not a comfortable thing for those in American society who want a quick fix. This book illustrates James Hillman’s idea that our Soul can be found in our symptoms, and without them we may not reach a place of deep healing in our lives or be instigated to grow.
John Medvekis, LaC
I have been touched and inspired by your writings and the way in which you beautifully and bravely present the reality of living with pain along with the blessings of an embodied spiritual practice.
Susan Velasco, Pasadena, CA