© and (P)Stephen Levine, 1997; Cover Design by Mary Schuck; Cover Photograph © Art Becker/Photonica
Stephen Levine has been a leading voice in the hospice movement and draws on his wealth of experience with death and dying to share his insights in this book. In a culture that shuns talk and exploration into death and how it relates to life, it was refreshing to hear this man speaking sincerely and passionately about how contemplation of death can bring more meaning and focus to life. At first the idea of "pretending" to have only one year to live seemed silly and not much use, but he has a way of explaining his thoughts and giving exercises which have helped to open new areas in my life.
Though his reading at first seems slow and deep, it had a way of drawing me in and opening me to his ideas.
I recommend this book to anyone who feels like their spiritual life could use a jump start. This is a good practice.
The title - it suggests a) this is how to live a year with your death in mind b) that the author has actually done this when neither is the case.
clear, rhythmic, balanced
No I cannot see this but maybe the Dalai Lama.....
The content had little to do with living as if you had a year to live. It was often just a collection of rambling thoughts often unconnected. The practices suggested were Buddhist and seemed artificial - I don't want to be spending my last day of life 'noting' things (which itself is a separation from the experience of living/being). I also don't see any point in having a ritual table in my room with elements of my life on it as that could just as well lead to feelings of despair and regret. I was very disappointed with this book because I would have thought with the authors huge experience in this area he could have written something more useful and practical - maybe if you're a Buddhist you want to spend your last day 'noting' things? I don't (and I'm not a Buddhist anyway).
My advice; I will stick with the advice of a Christian sage who said learn to 'let go'. Something I wish I had done with regard this book (and so 'held on' to my money!).
This is a great study in beginning a year-long practice of what death can be and how death quickly revitalizes what is important to life.
A great listen. But something that needs to be practiced, not just heard.
When I started the book, I waited with baited breathe for the author to launch into the specifics of living for a year like I was dying. But that was the disappointment of a lifetime. The author with his powerful voice of wisdom declined to get into specifics like I needed to hear. Maybe he wrote the book for people unlike myself, who like to be shown the how, when, and why. Maybe I'll write the book, and find out why the specifics were not called for after all.
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