My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life
Book by Priscilla Warner
Hobbled by panic attacks that leave her gasping and almost immobilized, Priscilla Warner undertakes a journey to find the peace that has eluded her for as long as she can remember. In the process she reconnects with emotional pivot points, learns the techniques of meditation and meets an array of illuminating facilitators.
Warner’s childhood—which she explores in depth via therapy and other means—was probably more fun for the adults in her home than for the children, but perhaps her parents’ most egregious error was narcissism. Seemingly oblivious to their child’s distress, they followed their own erratic paths to enlightenment but never bothered to share what they learned, or even that they were searching. In consequence, Warner finds herself happily married with two lovely children and a successful career, but little satisfaction in her life.
No stranger to anxiety myself—mostly on bumpy plane flights—I eagerly followed Warner’s journey and found numerous useful nuggets. Although at some points her account seems to belie her condition and history (How does someone who suffers unpredictable panic attacks drive off into the unknown to connect with the next healer? How did she manage to create what seems to be a healthy marriage?), she has clearly had a star-studded (in the alternative healing cosmos) journey and made tremendous progress.
I found Warner’s determination admirable—she covered in one year what could have taken a decade of searching, and her story led me to Sharon Salzburg, whose new book on meditation (Real Happiness) practically jumped into my hands before I’d even finished this one. For this I’m particularly grateful. (Free Press)
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