This life-affirming, instructive, and thoroughly inspiring book is a must-read for anyone who is–or who might one day be–sick. And it can also be the perfect gift of guidance, encouragement, and uplifting inspiration to family, friends, and loved ones struggling with the many terrifying or disheartening life changes that come so close on the heels of a diagnosis of a chronic condition or even a life-threatening illness.
The author, who became ill while a university law professor in the prime of her career, tells the reader how she got sick and, to her and her partner’s bewilderment, stayed that way. Toni had been a longtime meditator, going on long meditation retreats and spending many hours rigorously practicing, but soon discovered that she simply could no longer engage in those difficult and taxing forms. She had to learn ways to make “being sick” the heart of her spiritual practice and, through truly learning how to be sick, she learned how, even with many physical and energetic limitations, to live a life of equanimity, compassion, and joy. Whether we ourselves are sick now or not, we can learn these vital arts of living well from How to Be Sick.
In 1979 President Spencer W. Kimball challenged members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to “move forward in a major way. . . . We have paused on some plateaus long enough. Let us resume our journey upward and forward.”
Using the analogy of climbing a mountain, Bishop Glenn L. Pace, second counselor in the Church’s Presiding Bishopric, suggests three major plateaus, or comfort zones, on which the Saints may rest as they work toward developing their spirituality.
The first plateau, which Bishop Pace labels testimony, is the beginning of the trail. “Many Latter-day Saints look upon a testimony as the pinnacle of spiritual progress,” he writes, “but unless we do something about that testimony, we are barely out, and the world’s magnetic pull will tug forcefully on us.”
The second plateau, sanctification, pertains to receiving the ordinances of the gospel and remaining true to covenants. This process, which occurs over a period of time, is described as “coming unto Christ.”
The third plateau, spiritual graduate school, deals with mysteries, miracles, and signs, and their appropriate roles in spiritual development.
“The Lord loves each of us, and He stands at the top of the trail beckoning us,” Bishop Pace explains. “He also comes to assist us and encourage us even when-and perhaps especially when-we may have fallen. He says to each of us, ‘You can make it. I know it because I know you.'”
Spiritual Plateaus is a book for all who are willing to accept President Kimball’s challenge to resume their spiritual journey forward and upward.
Twenty-two lifelines to personal growth and fulfillment from the editor in chief of Essence magazine. When Susan L. Taylor rose to editor in chief of Essence magazine more than a decade ago, she began writing an editorial column in which she shares her thoughts and feelings about how developing one’s inner awareness ensures the wisdom and clarity needed to create a deeply satisfying and fulfilling life.
The monthly column called “In the Spirit” is one of the most popular in the magazine.
Susan L. Taylor connects with the reader in a personal and meaningful way, in a voice that is sisterly, informed, and motivating. She challenges her readers to transcend their fears, to face inevitable challenges in their lives courageously, and to use change as an opportunity to grow. “We limit ourselves because change may well mean dealing with the disapproval of the very people we rely on for support. Often words of inspiration and motivation, but she also suggests specific methods for working through problems and improving our emotional and spiritual health.
“We are not powerless spectators of life. We are co-creators with God, and all around is are the gifts, the clay, that we can use to shape our world,” she says.
Susan L. Taylor writes passionately about what she has seen and learned in the course of her travels throughout the United States, Caribbean, and Africa. Her essays have helped many to balance the demanding world of work and business with the personal world of family and friendship. She shares bits of her own life–her loves, her trails, and triumphs–and the lessons she’s learned.
Many of Susan L. Taylor’s readers already collect her editorials and find in them a source of encouragement, self-affirmation, empowerment, and peace of mind. Now they can have new essays and a few previously published favorites elegantly bound in a gift-sized paperback edition to keep for themselves or to give as a gift of love to those who are special to them.
Experience has shown that prayer is at the heart of all that parish groups do. Prayer for Parish Groups offers over 100 prayer services for groups to use in gatherings. In addition to prayers, each prayer service presents words of the Scriptures and a reflection. The book’s introductory chapters offer ideas for preparing and leading prayer services. The easily adapted prayer services cover a wide variety of themes, including liturgical seasons, feasts, and the seasons of nature. Indexes of themes and scriptural passages make finding the right prayer service a simple task.