Sacred Wounds

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Published by: William Morrow
Release Date: March 25, 2003
Pages: 256
ISBN13: 978-0060096571


Sacred Wounds: Succeeding Because of Life’s Pain


There is no coming to consciousness without pain. –Carl Jung

From the Intro to Sacred Wounds: They say there are only two things in life of which we can be certain–death and taxes. They are wrong. There is a third. Its truth is intensely personal and at the same time universal: along the road of life we will–each and every one of us–encounter pain. If we are fortunate it will come and go softly, as in the passing of a loved one who has lived a long and productive life. For many of us, however, pain comes in the form of a difficult childhood, severed relationships, rejection in matters of the heart, physical challenges, personal failure, dismissal in the workplace, serious illness, or the traumatic death of those closest to us.

Pain, hardship, and struggle have been part of the human condition since our lovely orb of earth big-banged into existence. Whether the Garden of Eden is factual or poetic is not the issue here. In the cultural and religious consciousness of the Western world, we were booted out of Paradise and became hardwired to a tempest-tossed universe.

From the publisher HarperCollins: this immensely affecting and empowering guide, Jan Goldstein teaches readers how to take their most emotionally painful life events -- their spiritual wounds -- and transform them into a source of power and well-being.
Goldstein's life-affirming program is inspired by his own heartbreak: the February morning when he was faced with the sudden news that his twelve-year marriage was ending, leaving Goldstein with primary custody of their three small children. Though paralyzed at first by feelings of loss and depression, Goldstein eventually discovered that the pain allowed him and his children a deeper appreciation for the simple moments of joy -- that his once "broken" family was succeeding not despite its wounds, but because of them.

In Sacred Wounds, Goldstein reveals the secret to finding strength in challenging and often traumatic events, outlining a life-changing nine-step process to help readers move through heartache and toward healing. In clear, compassionate language, he refutes the notion of pain as a destroyer, drawing on the compelling stories of many of the people he has counseled along the way: Rick and Sara, who are plagued by infertility; Yvette, an aspiring nun who battles her secular desires; Steve, for whom a frightening diagnosis portends the end...and then the beginning of hope. Remarkably affecting and inspiring, Goldstein's stories confirm that we are all well equipped to deal with the inevitable hurts and heartbreaks in life -- if only we release our preconceptions, acknowledge the strengthening power of our wounds, and follow the nine steps to a spiritual rebirth.

Indispensable for anyone suffering through spiritual and emotional difficulties, Sacred Wounds is the key to shifting our perceptions and finding new strength and success in the painful experiences we all endure.

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“Jan Goldstein helps tune our hearts to the miracles that exist all around us.”
-Deepak Chopra

“Literary lightning! A powerhouse program that will move you to tears and triumph.”
-Richard Carlson, #1 NY Times author of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

“…calls on us not to be victim’s of life’s circumstances but to rise, rise to our greatest potential.” -Arianna Huffington

“A triumph of the heart! Jan Goldstein’s advice and stories show us the depth of human potential that lives inside each of us.”
-Mark Victor Hansen, #1 NY Times author of bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul


Of course, I would have preferred that life kept its pain to itself. But if the story of Job has taught us anything it’s that life is never as neat or considerate as we’d like. I came to see that pain, while never desirable, is capable of producing an unexpected power and inspiring in all of us the potential to grow well beyond where we were before the wounding experience. If we hold our wounds in the core of our souls, alive and sacred, we can use them to shape not only who we want to be but who we were meant to be.

As a young child growing up in Vermont, I had a brief but lasting introduction to this kind of human triumph when I had the good fortune to be introduced to the force of nature that was Maria von Trapp. The Sound of Music, of course, is based on her life. Her family had fled Nazi Austria and settled in my home state. By the time we met, she could no longer “climb every mountain” or “follow every rainbow,” and she also looked nothing like Julie Andrews, a fact I pointed out to her in the manner of small kids who don’t know when to keep quiet. She pointed out to me that while she might be old, she was still very young. When I found this puzzling, she told me I would figure it out one day.

One morning, Maria introduced me to a grove of beautiful birch trees to which she regularly escaped for meditation and private singing. Suddenly, she cried out as if a child had fallen. The branch of one of her beloved trees had been struck by lightning and was hanging off the trunk literally by a thread of wood. I was surprised at her grief and watched in wonderment as she stroked the drooping limb the way you might a loved one. Then, as if by magic, a smile appeared on her face. “It has suffered, poor thing, but it will not die.” She turned to me. “In a little while, it shall grow even stronger. A wounded soul is a bit like that branch. We own the power of a second life in which our strength can be restored. As with alchemy, our pain is melted into meaning, and the meaning can be transformed into successful and purposeful living. Such is the strength and power of an integrated soul, a soul that transforms wounds into the material of growth.

The path we take is sacred …
The journey we take is shared …
We are our own best destiny.