Nautilus Book Award Winner
We are all touched at some point by the dark emotions of grief, fear, or despair. In an age of global threat, these emotions have become widespread and overwhelming. While conventional wisdom warns us of the harmful effects of "negative" emotions, this revolutionary book offers a more hopeful view: there is a redemptive power in our worst feelings. Seasoned psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan argues that it's the avoidance and denial of the dark emotions that results in the escalating psychological disorders of our time: depression, anxiety, addiction, psychic numbing, and irrational violence. And she shows us how to trust the wisdom of the dark emotions to guide, heal, and transform our lives and our world.
Drawing on inspiring stories from her psychotherapy practice and personal life, and including a complete set of emotional exercises, Greenspan teaches the art of emotional alchemy by which grief turns to gratitude, fear opens the door to joy, and despair becomes the ground of a more resilient faith in life.
"Greenspan writes intensely and compassionately. This is a committed, serious look at the emotions most of us would rather sweep under the rug."—Publishers Weekly
"The gold standard of books on difficult emotions. This book has the power to heal and change your life and the way you live it."—Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom
"A crucial book that teaches us to alter fundamentally our fearful relationship to deep feelings."—Kim Chernin, Los Angeles Times
"A book of remarkable depth. The author is a brilliant thinker and a natural storyteller. I've read countless books about the difficult emotions. None is as helpful and riveting as this one—or offers as much hope for our personal suffering and turbulent times."—Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger
"A modern day alchemist, Greenspan teaches us to turn our pain into wisdom and our fear and sorrow into energy to improve the world. She offers us a clear and profound analysis of what we must do as individuals and as a species to survive these troubled times."—Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
"This remarkable book has taught me a whole new way of thinking."—Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
"A beautiful piece of work destined to become a perennial classic."—Martha Beck, author of Expecting Adam and The Joy Diet
"This is a beautifully written, deeply compassionate, and revolutionary approach to working with the most difficult human emotions. Miriam Greenspan teaches us how to trust our emotions and how to listen to hear the truth they reveal. This is a practical guide that illuminates how the wisdom of the heart can heal ourselves, each other, and our world."—Janet Surrey, Ph.D., founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Stone Center, Wellesley College
"Miriam Greenspan will help you turn the lead in your life into gold of joy and peace. Of equal importance, she helps us see that such changes are not for ourselves alone, but for the whole world."—Henry Grayson, Ph.D., author of The New Physics of Love
"This book is essential reading for all people. It beholds that which is tragic about the human condition but embraces it in a therapeutic and consoling way. Greenspan describes enormous grief and terror—her own and the world's—and explains what it means to surrender to fear, to face straight into it, to 'let it be' as the royal road to sanity, exuberance, and freedom. She is a trustworthy guide for us in these times."—Phyllis Chesler, author of Women and Madness and Woman's Inhumanity to Woman
"Written with grace, clarity, and humility, this book beautifully integrates the psychological, spiritual, and political wisdom necessary for personal and social transformation."—Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun magazine and author of Spirit Matters: Global Healing and the Wisdom of the Soul
"This riveting book is a powerful, urgent appeal for a transformation of our values and the way we conduct our lives. The author is a therapist but she writes not only for other therapists, who will deepen and expand their practice from their reading, but for all of us who struggle daily not to be defeated by the global darkness in which we live."—Sophie Freud, Professor Emerita, Simmons College School of Social Work
"This is a profound and liberating book. Miriam Greenspan helps us to discover the life-redeeming power of the very emotion we most fear. Thus she opens ways to both our integrity and our freedom."—Joanna Macy, author of Widening Circles