I was asked to review You Make Your Path by Walking by Suzanne Anderson by Book Publicity Services and you can see on the corner of the cover (in the featured photo) that it’s an “Advance Reader Copy”. I’m telling you… this book is **so good** that I will likely buy a final copy for my shelf. And I just may reread it year after year.
But – as usual – I’m getting ahead of myself.
I loved the title, first of all. You may remember that I spent the summer of 2021 walking in meditation with Dad, who had passed the February before. I had planned to walk again last summer, but… some things (like Covid)… got in the way. Here we are heading into spring 2023 and I thought I would try to get back out there this year. Anyway, the title… beckoned me.
Little did I know, the contents (so different than I expected) also grabbed me! You see, this book is not about physically walking as much as emotionally walking… ever forward… through trauma and grief.
Oh, those old subjects? Psshaw.
This book is not like the rest.
Please, let me be clear, this realization does not take away from the others on trauma and grief, many very good! This one, however, shot an arrow straight into my heart. Blood was everywhere, to continue the analogy. I was gutted.
The first time I had to set the book down to absorb what I was reading occurred on pg 52, which reads:
There are times in life when the shattering is so complete that all one can do is bow down and honor the threshold. The past is gone, the future completely unknown, and the only step you can take is to acknowledge the groundless ground between these worlds that you now stand on.
It may surprise you to know that for me, these words are not about physical death but an emotional one. Or maybe you’re not surprised… you know, if you’ve been around for a while.
On November 1, 2000, I embarked on a journey from California to a new life in Canada… and straight into the shattering that is described above.
The euphoria of my new life colored my spectacles pink… so much so that I couldn’t see the path of destruction that was the collateral damage I had caused. And while yes, those in the path were harmed in ways I’d never imagined, I – as the one who threw the grenade – could only stand at the threshold in numb realization.
I’ve never been able to articulate how the experience made me feel.
Anderson did that for me.
To be clear, she is talking about life after her husband’s suicide and I don’t want to diminish that kind of loss by comparing pain. I hope you know what I mean. If you’ve been on this threshold, you know it can be about any significant trauma or loss. In my case, it happened twice more. Once, when my son drove off a cliff (and lived) and also in 2014: The Year of Pain. No need to delve into those losses again. This book isn’t about me (though, as mentioned, it sure could have been!)
Anderson does not present her story of shattering without bringing healing light to shine the path of moving beyond (for all of us!). But first, she asks us to do that thing I’ve been yammering about all year (well, that last three months, since the word is my clarion call for this year) … SURRENDER.
In her first book (The Way of the Mysterial Woman) she introduced her readers to the eight “Mysterial Meta-Capacities”. Here too, she comes back to them as a blueprint for healing. Here they are with a very, very short blurb I have written to describe them (as always, I want you to get the book and see what they mean to you!)
- Generative Mutuality – You cannot move through the trauma alone
- Unfolding the Emergent – Let go of the old and step onto unknown paths
- Influencing System Resonance – Being and appreciating the potential of the collective
- Embracing Paradox – Sit with the uncertainty and contradictions without judgment
- Multi-Dimensional Knowing – Pulling the threads of the patriarchal structures into the realm of the present
- Tending the Field – We are not alone: Community
- Energy Stewardship – Be with all (pain, joy, movement & flow) in a sustainable way
- Authentic Presence – Be yourself fully and honestly at any given moment
As I mentioned, these Meta-Capacities go much deeper than I’m describing here. I do not want to take away or misrepresent in any way… so I prefer to err on the side of brevity. I sincerely want you to read Anderson’s words and the whispers of your heart as you do!
Part Three of the book is what Anderson calls, “Return”. It follows her transformational path from shattered (with its dark nights and shadows) to the present (I have come from somewhere) to the future (I am going somewhere). <<< Again, my paraphrase.
Part Four is called “A Mythic Journey”… and it’s so lovely! Anderson has written a mystical narrative that embraces all the steps along the way. My favorite words are these:
She made her path by walking. One step after another, she began to heal, and the women who come to her small cottage in the woods to sit with her began to heal also. Soon, word of her healing powers spread around the land…
Lord, I want this to be me! I want this to be HERE, in my space on the internet, and at your cottage, too. I want us all to have healing spaces and paths we can walk together. Amen and amen!
Yes, there is an Epilogue and I will leave it to you to discover it after you’ve read the rest of Anderson’s book. The way she writes about her life is pure poetry… bathed in golden light.
This book is a stunner. I love it!
FYI: Partnering with this book, Anderson has an in-person’s women’s retreat in June 2023. She says, “The enormous challenges of these times are calling women to partner with the Great Mystery and become the leaders and role models that can guide us into the future.” For more info and details please visit her beautiful Mysterial Woman website HERE.