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LEARNING TO FALL: BLESSINGS OF AN IMPERFECT LIFE By Philip Simmons - Hardcover **BRAND NEW**.
Now I find myself in late August, with the nights cool and the crickets thick in the fields. Already the first blighted leaves glow scarlet on the red maples. It's a season of fullness and sweet longings made sweeter now by the fact that I can't be sure I'll see this time of the year again.... fromLearning to Fall Philip Simmons was just thirty-five years old in 1993 when he learned that he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and was told he had less than five years to live. As a young husband and father, and at the start of a promising literary career, he suddenly had to learn the art of dying. Nine years later, he has succeeded, against the odds, in learning the art of living. Now, in this surprisingly joyous and spirit-renewing book, he chronicles his search for peace and his deepening relationship with the mystery of everyday life. Set amid the rugged New Hampshire mountains he once climbed, and filled with the bustle of family life against the quiet progression of illness,Learning to Fallilluminates the journey we all must take "the work of learning to live richly in the face of loss." From our first faltering steps, Simmons says, we may fall into disappointment or grief, fall into or out of love, fall from youth or health. And though we have little choice as to the timing or means of our descent, we may, as he affirms, "fall with grace, to grace." With humor, hard-earned wisdom and a keen eye for life's lessons whether drawn from great poetry or visits to the town dump Simmons shares his discovery that even at times of great sorrow we may find profound freedom. And by sharing the wonder of his daily life, he offers us the gift of connecting more deeply and joyously with our own.
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"Sometimes there is no difference between a book and a blessing. In Philip Simmons has blessed us all." Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., author ofKitchen Table WisdomandMy Grandfather's Blessings "Pure poetry, tinged with irony and humor, in the voice of a present-day Thoreau whose Walden is his family, the landscape of New Hampshire, and a young body fading away. A deeply moving rhapsody on inhabiting the human condition." Jon Kabat-Zinn, author ofFull Catastrophe LivingandWherever You Go, There You Are "Philip Simmons writes with clarity and a passion for honesty, laced with wit. An extraordinary book." Elaine Pagels, Princeton University, author ofThe Gnostic Gospels "Generous and genuine, like water from a deep well, halfway between a meditation and a dance, this book is an act of grace." Jack Kornfield, author ofA Path With HeartandAfter the Ecstasy, the Laundry "Learning to Fallis for anyone who loves life or needs to love it more.... A wonderful achievement." Balfour Mount, M.D., Professor of Palliative Medicine, McGill University "Not only has Philip Simmons figured out the meaning of life for himself; with prodigious literary grace he has figured out how to tell us too. Required reading for Basic Humanity 101." Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author ofInvisible Lines of Connection