Cover image for Sacred wounds : succeeding because of life's pain
Sacred wounds : succeeding because of life's pain
Goldstein, Jan.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : ReganBooks, [2003]

Physical Description:
242 pages ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


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Material Type
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BF637.C5 G66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF637.C5 G66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
BF637.C5 G66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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In 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 man 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.

Author Notes

Jan Goldstein is an award-winning poet, play-wright, screenwriter, and the author of Life Can Be This Good: Awakening to the Miracles All Around Us. An ordained rabbi, Goldstein has also been honored for his twenty years in education by Johns Hopkins University, where he was presented with an award for national excellence. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Goldstein (Life Can Be This Good), who is an ordained rabbi, speaks from the perspective of one who has endured great pain. Goldstein's wife left him and, after their separation, he became the primary caregiver of his three young children. He describes here the acute emotional agony that he felt during this period, but relates how he discovered his ability to draw on unexpected resources in order to rebuild his life. In this self-help manual, Goldstein recommends a nine-step progressive plan for utilizing the painful experiences life doles out that will enable those who are wounded to work through their distress and emerge as stronger people. The author provides many anecdotes to illustrate his program. Deborah, who was an alcoholic, had to go through the first step of acknowledging the wound of childhood abuse before she could take action to become sober. Several steps, such as embracing the hope and generating the blessings, rely heavily on the healing power of meditation and prayer. This will be of the greatest interest to those seeking an introspective spiritual process of healing. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Sacred Wounds Succeeding Because of Life's Pain Chapter One Step One Acknowledging the Wound: A Voice from Within In a dark time, the eye begins to see. -- Theodore Roethke We begin each step with an original meditation from my heart to yours. I encourage you, throughout this process and beyond, to compose or find additional meditations that speak to your spirit and to your wounds. The Meditation Open my eyes that I might see clearly. Open my ears that I might hear the truth. Open my mouth that I might speak wisdom. Let me tell my wounds I will not silence them. They my spirit will embrace. Bless my head and bless my journey With the gift of grace. I am here ... Present in the moment ... Ready to begin. A wound is a living entity. We know this because the effects of the wound produce pain in our lives, activating our physical, emotional, and spiritual centers. By reading this meditation, you have taken the first step toward hearing and attempting to understand what your wounds may be trying to tell you. The Birth of a Wound There are myriad messages and incidents that can induce suffering: "Daddy told me I'd never be pretty ... " can produce a wound of inadequacy about one's looks and abilities that can last a lifetime. "He died before I could tell him I loved him. That fight was the last exchange we had ... " produces a wound of self-inflicted guilt and recrimination. "You're a loser. You've always been a loser. Why I married you I'll never know ... " produces a debilitating wound to our sense of self-worth. These traumas do not go away by themselves. In fact, they often become so overwhelming that they take over our lives, causing us to lose sleep, lose weight, gain weight, drink more, withdraw, abuse those we love, let others down, let ourselves down, and sometimes descend into bitterness, scornfulness, and rage. These wounds take up permanent residence in our soul, and even those people who are part of our distant past continue to play an active and toxic role in our lives. Along with being a father and an educator, I have served for many years as a rabbi in Los Angeles. I was once officiating at a wedding, looking into the faces of a couple who were clearly filled with the love and celebration of the moment. Suddenly, the bride let out a painful cry, weeping hysterically. She and her sister had been in a car accident when they were teenagers. The sister died. The bride, who had been haunted by the question of why she had lived while her sister had perished, was overwhelmed with guilt at the moment of her greatest joy. After a few moments, and with the support of a very understanding groom, the bride composed herself and the wedding continued. Her wound will always be part of those wedding memories. Sometimes we listen to our wounds because we can't ignore them. The hurt, the sadness, the anger, the cry from within are all too close to the surface to block out. We'll be looking at pictures of former loves, of deceased family members, of happier times in our lives, and the wound's voice whispers, Remember me? Remember how I came to be? I'm still here. Because we don't want to be reminded of this pain, many of us will try to silence the wound, to ignore its insistent call. We get rid of the offending photographs that stir the poison of our pain. We move away from the home in which we lived with our lovers or spouses, believing we won't be reminded of them anymore. We flee the hometown in which we were raised in order to put distance between ourselves and our families. We gorge ourselves on food, liquor, or drugs to silence the wound with addiction. We sleepwalk our way through myriad sexual trysts, staying as briefly as possible so as not to be touched too deeply. We push people away from us during a serious illness lest we be reminded of all we may lose. Of course, none of this works. We will be reminded, we will return to our pain, our wounds will not be silenced. This is the presiding principle of Step One. Pain is a Pressure Cooker Indeed, trying to keep our hurt buried, forcing it down deep within us, thinking that we can choke it off through denial and deception, requires so much of our energy that we often have little left for actual living. We might succeed for a brief time in keeping the lid on our wounds, but, like steam in a radiator, the pressure builds. Pressure in a car radiator doesn't affect just one part of the automobile; it brings the entire vehicle to a standstill. This idea reminds me of an acquaintance of mine who made up his mind to ignore his wife's affair. He was not going to allow it to affect him. The man threw himself into his work with ferocity, keeping his emotions in tight check, and within six months, he had a heart attack. We will never know if this attack of the heart was incontrovertibly connected to his personal pain, but it certainly gives one pause, doesn't it? Samuel Johnson noted: "Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then." But our wounds are not an excuse to shrivel up and withdraw from life. Even if we are alone with our pain, we are being offered the opportunity to learn more about our own hearts and hopes and humanity. Wounds need to be recognized as part of who we are, because anything less is subterfuge. A life of truth cannot be built on denial and lies ... Sacred Wounds Succeeding Because of Life's Pain . Copyright © by Jan Goldstein. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Sacred Wounds: Succeeding Because of Life's Pain by Jan Goldstein All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 Acknowledging the Woundp. 23
2 Letting Go of Guiltp. 43
3 Draining the Profane from the Painp. 65
4 Accepting the Wisdomp. 91
5 Claiming Our Journeyp. 113
6 Honoring the Woundp. 143
7 Embracing the Hopep. 167
8 Generating the Blessingsp. 191
9 Transforming Power into Empowermentp. 213
Epiloguep. 235
Acknowledgmentsp. 239