Life Can Be This Good
Barnes & Noble
Published by: Conari Press
Release Date: April 1, 2002
Wonder is everywhere -- if we would just notice it and invite it in. In this book, Jan Goldstein offers 40 life-affirming stories of people who opened themselves to all that is possible and were rewarded with miraculous experiences. The author describes a four-step process for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
“If we will listen with the ears of our hearts,
open our souls,
step into each day with purpose and awareness,
then we will truly receive the gifts
that awaken us to the certain knowledge that-
life can be this good.”
“I was honored and thrilled to be asked to write the foreword to this incredible and beautiful book. This book is a lifetime of deep breaths. Jan Goldstein is right on target. Life really can be this good."
- #1 New York Times bestselling author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff- Richard Carlson
“ All these tales have one thing in common: their author tells us, with talent and imagination, that life could be good.”
-Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel
“…captures what is inside us all and encourages us to know and be true to ourselves. Everyone can benefit from his insights.”
-U.S. Senator, Patrick Leahy
“Jan Goldstein weaves a magical blend of teaching stories and life lessons into a nurturing book we can all use in these troubled times.”
–DEBBIE FORD, author of The Secret of the Shadow
The Day The Wind Had Its Say
I was at the lowest point in my life.
I had just become a single parent, with primary custody of my three young children. My heart was broken from the end of my marriage and, even more so, at the sudden ragged rip in the fabric of my children’s innocence. And then, one week later, it got worse. My dad died.
I thought of changing my name to Job.
My little girl railed in helpless anguish. I wasn’t sure how we were all going to make it. What I did know was that there was no alternative. Putting one foot in front of the other, we all began the process of learning to walk as a family all over again.
Months later, my mom took the kids for the first two weeks of their summer vacation. Practically throwing me out the door, she insisted that I go somewhere to heal. Which is how I ended up on the top deck of a ferry in the middle of a lake in Scotland, crying a river for my father, my children, and myself.
And it was there, in the midst of the sobbing and the water lapping and the loneliness of my heart, that I heard it.
It came to me as a whisper riding the wind. Was it my father’s voice? My own? Didn’t matter. It was perplexing and magical and utterly unexpected.
The voice spoke softly.
“Listen,” it said.
I was listening. Believe me.
It spoke again with a gentle urgency. “Open,” it breathed.
I was in a boat. How could—?
But before I could think another thought the voice insisted, “Step into…”
“But into what? I hadn’t the slightest idea.
And then, whispered like a benediction, came the final pronouncement: “Receive…”
The word vibrated on the water, shimmered, and was gone.
That was it?
Listen… Open… Step Into… Receive…
Not a lot to work with. If I was going to hear a voice in the middle of Scotland, the least it could do is speak in complete sentences.
But as I sat concentrating on the words that had floated to me on the wind, I suddenly became aware of the cry of a bird, primal and triumphant. And as the cry rent the sky above, something that had been sealed off unlocked within me. Lifting my eyes, I beheld the awe-inspiring flight of a hawk swooping across the lake. Without thinking, I rose to my feet, spreading my arms like wings, reaching up and out as if to embrace the sheer wonder of it all.
On the ride back to shore, still shaking with the thrill of the hawk, I felt stunned with a sudden realization. The voice I had heard, the whisper on the wind, had transmitted nothing less than a key for unlocking the riches of the universe. Not the supernatural variety, but those found in the natural world—gifts dropped in my path, waiting only for the awareness of my heart to bid them welcome. Like the hawk, and the voice, and the sudden recognition of what was right in front of my soul’s door. Instead of mourning all I didn’t have, I was suddenly infused with all I did: the miracle of my children, the spirit of my father coursing through me, and the knowledge that if I wanted to soar, well, birds and humans are related, after all, in some primordial and divinely attuned way.
I knew then I didn’t want to be one more victim of life, bowed by the pain. I didn’t want a heart that had been drained of hope, crammed with hurt and loss and an unspectacular desire to just get by. I wanted it filled with an eternal yes. With the power of the possible. And to do all this I needed to repair the strings inside me, strings that had been pulled and warped until I was out of tune.
Listen. Open. Step Into. Receive.
If I wanted to grow, spread my wings, connect to life’s wonder, I had to begin to listen, to become conscious of what was happening all around me. Next, I would need to open myself to what I heard, to value it by creating space for it. This would allow me to step into experiences hitherto closed off to me, becoming part of their life-giving embrace. I would then be ready to receive and celebrate all the gifts that were coming to me, waiting to grace my life and all of our lives.
Riches both natural and abundant spin a web of magic around us every day. But, as so often happens in life’s whirlwind of busy-ness, we are otherwise occupied. We have but to recognize them, see them, feel them, hear them, touch them, and allow them to touch us right back. It begins with the simple task of awareness, the process of allowing our inner instrument to vibrate with the music the universe is playing.
In that spirit, think of this book, its stories and musings, as a tuning fork for the heart. These are true-life accounts of people and places I’ve encountered and perspectives I’ve acquired interacting with the gifts that have come my way. They are pockets of life’s poetry that have fashioned a space in my heart. I pass them along with the hope they will similarly touch yours.
I have centered these thoughts and anecdotes upon each portion of the blueprint I received in mystic wonderment the day the wind had its say. As you marinate in each story, search within you for the stories of your own life that resonate with a similar truth. I hope this book will lead you to unlock rooms within yourself that you may not have entered in a long while. In sitting with each account, may you find not only the affirmation that life can be good, but also the conviction that each of us has the power to make it this good.
How good is that?
So good that we bless each day for its possibilities.
So good that we find, in the small corners of our lives, bountiful riches that let us know how wealthy we really are.
So good that we recognize that in searching for the meaning of life, we are led back to our soul’s door through which all that is truly meaningful flows.
Around the fires in the highlands of ancient Scotland would sit a storyteller, a person whose purpose it was to entertain and illuminate. I’ve always fancied myself a bit of a Scotsman, what with family connections on my mother’s side. And as you and I have come to learn, there’s wisdom to be found in company, so…
Come… let’s build a fire.”