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Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Philip Simmons

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29. April 2003
Now I find myself in late August, with the nights cool and the crickets thick in the fields. Already the first blighted leaves glow scarlet on the red maples. It’s a season of fullness and sweet longings made sweeter now by the fact that I can’t be sure I’ll see this time of the year again....
— from Learning to Fall

Philip Simmons was just thirty-five years old in 1993 when he learned that he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was told he had less than five years to live. As a young husband and father, and at the start of a promising literary career, he suddenly had to learn the art of dying. Nine years later, he has succeeded, against the odds, in learning the art of living.

Now, in this surprisingly joyous and spirit-renewing book, he chronicles his search for peace and his deepening relationship with the mystery of everyday life.

Set amid the rugged New Hampshire mountains he once climbed, and filled with the bustle of family life against the quiet progression of illness, Learning to Fall illuminates the journey we all must take — “the work of learning to live richly in the face of loss.”

From our first faltering steps, Simmons says, we may fall into disappointment or grief, fall into or out of love, fall from youth or health. And though we have little choice as to the timing or means of our descent, we may, as he affirms, “fall with grace, to grace.”

With humor, hard-earned wisdom and a keen eye for life’s lessons — whether drawn from great poetry or visits to the town dump — Simmons shares his discovery that even at times of great sorrow we may find profound freedom. And by sharing the wonder of his daily life, he offers us the gift of connecting more deeply and joyously with our own.

From the Hardcover edition.

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“Sometimes there is no difference between a book and a blessing. In Philip Simmons has blessed us all.”
— Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings

“Pure poetry, tinged with irony and humor, in the voice of a present-day Thoreau whose Walden is his family, the landscape of New Hampshire, and a young body fading away. A deeply moving rhapsody on inhabiting the human condition.”
— Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living and Wherever You Go, There You Are

“Philip Simmons writes with clarity and a passion for honesty, laced with wit. An extraordinary book.”
— Elaine Pagels, Princeton University, author of The Gnostic Gospels

“Generous and genuine, like water from a deep well, halfway between a meditation and a dance, this book is an act of grace.”
— Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

Learning to Fall is for anyone who loves life — or needs to love it more.... A wonderful achievement.”
— Balfour Mount, M.D., Professor of Palliative Medicine, McGill University

“Not only has Philip Simmons figured out the meaning of life for himself; with prodigious literary grace he has figured out how to tell us too. Required reading for Basic Humanity 101.”
— Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author of Invisible Lines of Connection

From the Hardcover edition.


Philip Simmons was just 35 years old when he learned he had Motor Neurone Disease, a fatal condition that usually kills its victims in two to five years, but which Philip has already well exceeded. With a strong marriage, two young children and the start of a promising literary and academic career, he suddenly had to say goodbye. But, by learning the art of dying he has succeeded, against the odds, in learning the art of living. In 12 chapters, this book tells the story of Philip's spiritual journey. Finding answers to life's deepest questions - and introducing a host of colourful characters along the way - Philip illustrates, above all, that we can learn to live lives of depth, compassion and courage no matter what life throws at us. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 von 5 Sternen  60 Rezensionen
39 von 39 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Spiritual Gift 16. Juli 2001
Von Asher - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Phil's book is best read without anticiptation or preparation. Like life itself, like the disease which is slowly claiming Phil's abilities, it is the imperfection of our vulnerabity that opens us to the ephiphanies that surround us. If you are seeking to open yourself to a wider reality, if you are able to be blessed by the path others have trod, Phil's book has much to offer. You might come to the book to learn how Phil has dealt with his disability, but you will come away from it with deeper insights into how to deal with your own. This is not so much a book to be enjoyed as it is to savored and keep close at hand.
35 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Timeless Legacy & Oasis 27. Mai 2002
Von Marlene Druhan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
During a very dark time in my life, I happened to pick up this book, sarcastically thinking that it was going to be a positive thinking fluff ball of well-intentioned writing, but I thought I could use it anyway. Thank heavens my temporary cynicism did not deter me from one of the greatest gifts ever to be in print! This book is a spiritual power tool for anyone coping with loss, a candle lit by a stranger in our stormiest nights. This book looks death in the face with the quiet rage of a human being and the grace of a sage- and offers a bridge over the roughest waters of our lives. God bless you, Mr. Simmons for your hard-earned wisdom and generosity of spirit. May your journey lead to all of the riches you've given us in this book and this life. Just knowing someone has been there has meant meant everything. You have given us a legacy that will last a long, long time. I pity those indifferent souls who find no other better thing to do with their idle lives and self-righteous overblown intellects than to criticize this literary jewel. For the "urban fella" below, you have a long way to go, buddy... and a very hard fall. Only then will you know the value of this book and this man's experience. Marlene' M. Druhan- Author (Naked Soul, Llewellyn 1998)
26 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Learning to Fall -- Spiritual Handbook for Mortals 27. Dezember 2000
Von Brad Stuart - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
This book is what every post-modern spiritual seeker is after -- a humane, down-to-earth exploration of the essence of soul, as seen from inside a full, thoughtful, suffering and joyful life. There are lots of references to spiritual "authorities," from Buddha to Emerson, but these just serve to ground the stories and insights. The author himself speaks with such gentle and frank authority that really nothing from outside is needed.
What is special about this book is Simmons' own experience of illness -- he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease -- and how he has found his way through despair to redemption. Without resorting to any religious "teaching," Simmons still manages to achieve what he calls the chief function of religion: to explore "the harrowing business of rescuing joy from heartbreak."
20 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Painful, Exceptable Fall 14. August 2002
Von Pamela Hans - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
There are no coincidences in life! I found this book by accident at a time when I was wondering why I was living and if I should continue. I read this book and realized that suffering is what life is about and once we come to accept and internalize it, it's not so bad. Philip truly made me humble before him and I thank him for sharing his deepest thoughts with the world at a most difficult time. He took his pain and turned it around to help others - there is nothing better! He writes with humor and with sensitivity about a subject none of us wants to face but a subject we will all confront eventually. I am a Hospice Volunteer and realize how fleeting life can be. Philip showed me that my work is what makes sense of the suffering. This is an inspirational, uplifting piece of literature without being too "GOD" oriented. If you're questioning life, this book is for you.
17 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Learning to Fall 15. Februar 2001
Von Pamela Erdmann - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
A humorous, profound, wonderful guide to living whether it's with Lew Gehrig's disease or, thankfully, something far less. Simmons uses New England's towns, weather and general life style to remind us all that we need to do what we need to do and to get on with it. One of the best reads I've had in years!
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