Recommended Books April 2018

The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief 

by Francis Weller

Noted psychotherapist Francis Weller provides an essential guide for navigating the deep waters of sorrow and loss in this lyrical yet practical handbook for mastering the art of grieving. Describing how Western patterns of amnesia and anesthesia affect our capacity to cope with personal and collective sorrows, Weller reveals the new vitality we may encounter when we welcome, rather than fear, the pain of loss. Through moving personal stories, poetry, and insightful reflections he leads us into the central energy of sorrow, and to the profound healing and heightened communion with each other and our planet that reside alongside it.

The Wild Edge of Sorrow explains that grief has always been communal and illustrates how we need the healing touch of others, an atmosphere of compassion, and the comfort of ritual in order to fully metabolize our grief. Weller describes how we often hide our pain from the world, wrapping it in a secret mantle of shame. This causes sorrow to linger unexpressed in our bodies, weighing us down and pulling us into the territory of depression and death. We have come to fear grief and feel too alone to face an encounter with the powerful energies of sorrow. 

Those who work with people in grief, who have experienced the loss of a loved one, who mourn the ongoing destruction of our planet, or who suffer the accumulated traumas of a lifetime will appreciate the discussion of obstacles to successful grief work such as privatized pain, lack of communal rituals, a pervasive feeling of fear, and a culturally restrictive range of emotion. Weller highlights the intimate bond between grief and gratitude, sorrow and intimacy. In addition to showing us that the greatest gifts are often hidden in the things we avoid, he offers powerful tools and rituals and a list of resources to help us transform grief into a force that allows us to live and love more fully.

The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth 

by Michio Kaku

Formerly the domain of fiction, moving human civilization to the stars is increasingly becoming a scientific possibility–and a necessity. Whether in the near future due to climate change and the depletion of finite resources, or in the distant future due to catastrophic cosmological events, we must face the reality that humans will one day need to leave planet Earth to survive as a species. World-renowned physicist and futurist Michio Kaku explores in rich, intimate detail the process by which humanity may gradually move away from the planet and develop a sustainable civilization in outer space. He reveals how cutting-edge developments in robotics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology may allow us to terraform and build habitable cities on Mars. He then takes us beyond the solar system to nearby stars, which may soon be reached by nanoships traveling on laser beams at near the speed of light. Finally, he brings us beyond our galaxy, and even beyond our universe, to the possibility of immortality, showing us how humans may someday be able to leave our bodies entirely and laser port to new havens in space. With irrepressible enthusiasm and wonder, Dr. Kaku takes readers on a fascinating journey to a future in which humanity may finally fulfill its long-awaited destiny among the stars.

The Third Man Factor 

by John Geiger
The Third Man Factor is an extraordinary account of how people at the very edge of death often sense an unseen presence beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive. This incorporeal being offers a feeling of hope, protection, and guidance, and leaves the person convinced he or she is not alone. There is a name for this phenomenon: it’s called the Third Man Factor.If only a handful of people had ever encountered the Third Man, it might be dismissed as an unusual delusion shared by a few overstressed minds. But over the years, the experience has occurred again and again, to 9/11 survivors, mountaineers, divers, polar explorers, prisoners of war, sailors, shipwreck survivors, aviators, and astronauts. All have escaped traumatic events only to tell strikingly similar stories of having sensed the close presence of a helper or guardian. The force has been explained as everything from hallucination to divine intervention. Recent neurological research suggests something else.Bestselling and award-winning author John Geiger has completed six years of physiological, psychological, and historical research on the Third Man. He blends his analysis with compelling human stories such as that of Ron DiFrancesco, the last survivor to escape the World Trade Center on 9/11; Ernest Shackleton, the legendary explorer whose account of the Third Man inspired T. S. Eliot to write of it in The Waste Land; Jerry Linenger, a NASA astronaut who experienced the Third Man while aboard the Mir space station—and many more.

Fascinating for any reader, The Third Man Factor at last explains this secret to survival, a Third Man who—in the words of famed climber Reinhold Messner—“leads you out of the impossible.”