It takes courage to embrace the fear, the pain, the disappointment, the heartbreak, as we would embrace joy, a smile, or sunshine on a spring day. Those are easy to welcome. Only when there is no resistance – even to resistance – can you know freedom, the whole freedom of God. Only then will you understand directly that there is nothing wrong with you. ~ excerpted from Tools for Sanity by Kiran Mystic Girl in the City
The author of this short and deceptively simple book had a massive spiritual awakening almost a decade ago. In the wild aftermath, she met and became friends with some of the western world’s biggest spiritual teachers and began to find her own way. Unlike her friends though, Kiran isn’t interested in leading others to enlightenment.
Her mission is to transform pain to peace, right here, right now.
I’ve known Kiran since the mid-90’s when we went to theater school together. I’ve witnessed her massive transformation, sometimes up close and sometimes from afar. When she told me about the book, I jumped at the chance to read it. I thought it would take me a day or so. It’s only 71 pages. But months later I’m still carrying it with me, still picking it up, savoring the words and putting it back down. Her voice has been living inside me and I’ll find myself repeating certain sentences like mantras throughout my day.
It’s written in that enigmatic “awakened human” voice, similar to Eckart Tolle’s, which can feel slightly awkward and very different from most of what we read. But the love and compassion vibrate off the page and the message is clear:
Freedom is simple, but not easy.
Kiran hands us four vital tools with humor and honesty as she encourages us to follow our “delicious yes” – Awareness, Acceptance, Alchemy and Alignment (which happen to be four of my favorite words).
A lot of what I believe and teach found confirmation in these pages, which was comforting to me as a non-awakened-but-doing-my-best-to-be-conscious human. I love that Kiran doesn’t sugar-coat her story to fall in line with the “enlightenment as bliss” myth in our culture. Awakening for her was full of grief and horror. But through her journey she has distilled the essence of what causes us humans to suffer and with this book, she offers a gentle antidote.
It’s a wonderful book for all of us who wish to live with greater tenderness and less pain. Because as she says, “tenderness is the strongest force in the universe”. Amen to that.
P.S. Kiran graciously sent me a copy of the book to review. All opinions are mine.
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