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Learning to Breathe: The Book that Takes You from Panic to Peace

18 Sep

A couple of summers ago, I got a “thank you” email from a very charming, funny woman named Priscilla Warner, who kept apologizing for bothering me and reassuring me that she was not a stalker – even though she would very much like to talk to me and give me a present.  (This in and of itself was pretty funny, because I don’t think it occurs to most stalkers to worry that they’ll be seen as stalking.  A true stalker just stalks, unencumbered by insight.)

Then it got even more amusing, because it turned out that she was writing to thank me for being a calming voice in her ear during her 3-year, 60-city book tour for her very terrific book, The Faith Club – a book I happened to know and admire. So actually, I could just as easily have been stalking her, if there were any stalking to be done.

Long story short, this international book tour involved a lot of flying and a lot of pressured performing in public, and it essentially brought her 40-year history of anxiety and panic attacks to a head… so much so that she was moved to write a new book, called Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life, about her journey exploring meditation and visiting various teachers and healers, to take her from panic to peace.  In her own words from that first email she sent me,

“My goal was to change my brain from that of a neurotic Jewess to a serene Tibetan monk.  We'll see about that!   But I've been doing EMDR therapy, ayurvedic treatments, meditative thangka painting... whatever seems to move me forward... And meditating every day, which is the heart of the book and my experience.”

Well, guess what?  I just saw her after a year, and she’s gotten kind of Tibetan-monk-like as a result of all the work she’s been doing on herself (while thankfully retaining the smart-ass Jewish humor. Some things do not need fixing…)

I got the galleys of the book a few months ago and dutifully started to read it, hoping I would like it as much as her first book, so I could honestly give it a positive blurb. (I’ve never managed to fake those blurbs and don’t intend to start now.) As luck would have it, I liked it better than her first book.  It’s terrific – an inspiring, practical, funny, authentic guide for anyone who suffers from panic and would like to stop.  In fact, here’s the blurb I gave it – no baloney:


“Priscilla Warner is a wonderful writer who's given us a page-turner of a teaching story. We happily root for her as she tries out different tools, methods and practices to first manage and ultimately transcend her debilitating panic episodes. She’s actually rather fearless, even in her most terrified times. And thanks to her courage we learn a helluva lot about meditation, body work, psychotherapy, loving kindness, brain plasticity and the psychological and neurophysiological origins of panic. Part mystery story, part comedic hero’s journey, part state-of-the-art psychology and part public health message, this is a complex, brainy book that does a lot of heavy lifting in the synthesis department. But you’d never know it, because it’s so well written, and goes down in one sitting like some kind of tasty chick-lit snack. Learning a lot is rarely this enjoyable, and teachers rarely this appealing.”

So, here’s the thing.  If you’re going to order this book anyway, please do it today or this week.  That’s because if enough people order it, all in a bunch, it seriously counts to the counters of such things in the publishing industry.  Who knows, maybe Learning to Breathe is destined for the iconic status of NYT Bestseller. Why not? It deserves it.

So I’ll make it easy for you: click here and you’re there.  Priscilla’s blog is here.

OK, take care and be well.

 

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award