Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Recommendation - Wismatic by Pam Yount

This book was given to me by my partner, Betsy, at the end of the Body, Mind, Spirit Expo on August 29th.  When I turned over the book to read the back cover I discovered a photo of the Temple of Tholos at Delphi.  It is the same temple I have tattooed on my back with Pegasus flying over the ruins.  As a believer and practitioner of Jungian synchronicity, I knew immediately that the book was required reading.  As is often the case the week after the show, I am in recovery and realignment mode, so I did not get a chance to open the book.  Fortunately I had planned to go visit my grandfather Labor Day weekend and I packed the book, along with Jan Spiller's Spiritual Astrology, Powers Vol 2. graphic novel, and Kaplan's GRE Test Preparation Study Guide (I was hired to teach a GRE prep course for Wake Tech on Thursday before I left on Friday).  I started reading Wismatic Friday night between classic movies.

The very short synopsis would be the following: a book by a mother whose son died of AIDS at 27 and the spiritual journey and opening up that came about during his seven year battle with the disease.  Her voice is honest and passionate and just what I needed to be reading during my visit with my grandfather.  As I read each chapter I became more in touch with gratefulness - the gratefulness of my full life; the love of my grandfather, two grandmothers, my parents, and my birth mother; my health; my growing spiritual awareness; and deeply the love of my partner, Betsy, and my daughter, Maya.  The key message Ms. Yount shares with each of us is the responsibility we all have to find our spiritual destiny and how it is ultimately a journey only we can take.  We cannot be given it by another, no matter their exalted status.  Teachers can offer guidance and people with similar vibrations can show us what they have learned, but no one can get us to our destiny but ourselves.  We are the gods and goddesses of our own story.

Reading this book also helped me address an ongoing internal dialogue regarding the issue of judgment.  It all sounds good and well to say, "judge not lest ye be judged," but living in a 3D, linear time existence, by default, requires us to make judgments day in and day out, whether they small and functional or large and spiritual.  Ms. Yount talks passionately about being involved in the world and the epiphany that emerged around judgment, especially the judgment of a cause or another person's plight or behavior, is whether or not we intend to INTERVENE.  Her son's illness lead her to INTERVENE and challenge the judgments of others and her upbringing (Southern religious ... so her son was most likely a gay man who deserved god's punishment ... which she judged to be wrong-headed).  And she did choose to intervene, by writing her congressmen, by learning all she could about the disease, by opening herself to other spiritual paths that would allow her to see the lesson and destiny in her son's illness (for him, her, and everyone touched by his illness).

I felt a tremendous shift by the time I finished the book and I am thankful to her.  Ms. Yount, Thank You.

I would be remiss in recommending this book if I did not point out some of its limits, a tip of the hat to my "serious" life as a scholar of writing.  I only do so to say that the flaws did not bother me because the message was so important and delivered with such honesty.  Some of the failings are the editor, glaring grammatical errors appear throughout.  Some of the flaws are the writer's, where she does not follow a line of thought to a conclusion or she picks up a thought without the needed preamble to understand the context.  These are not frequent, but they are jarring.  If you are looking for another writer of Deepak Chopra's or Eckhart Tolle's polish, then you will not find one in this book.  But if you are looking for a writer with a revelation of truth from a "common" voice, then you must read this book.  The wisest person I have known in my life is my mother's mother, my Nana.  She never finished high school; but she was full up with wisdom and kindness.  No amount of book smarts, and I've put my time in to accumulate a fair amount, will ever allow me to surpass her innate soul wisdom.  Pam Yount has that same quality and she shares her wisdom with us in her book Wismatic.

1 comment:

  1. I picked up this book for you Philip because of the small text on the title - something about finding your wise one.  For several weeks now we've been talking about the lack of "elders" in our society.  Hopefully this book has helped you find your inner elder!  Much Love!Betsy