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heartlandDEATH:
The end of self-improvement

Joan explores growing old and dying – and more importantly, being alive – both through the lens of her own journey from middle-age into the outskirts of old age, and also from the larger perspective of the unbroken wholeness that is always Here-Now.

This is not a self-help book telling you how to stay active and feel perpetually young, nor does it promise any kind of afterlife “for you” through heaven or reincarnation. Rather, this book is about fully embracing death (and therefore life) whole-heartedly and relaxing into the total disintegration and loss of control that growing old and falling apart (and living and loving and being awake) actually entails.

Joan suggests that what happens after death is a flat earth question based on false assumptions about the nature of reality, and that true healing, transformation and liberation begins with the complete acceptance of this moment and this world, just as it is. This is the opposite of the usual result-oriented, self-improvement project rooted in deficiency stories and future fantasies.

This is a book about waking up to the simplicity and immediacy of what is. Aging and dying, like spiritual awakening, is a great stripping process, a process of subtraction. To Joan, spirituality is both immanent and transcendent. It points to the boundless immediacy of aware presence Here-Now, but without leaving the messy and unresolvable world of human life behind. It sees all of life, from politics to vaginal dryness and anal cancer, as sacred, meaning worthy of devotion, full of wonder, inconceivable and ungraspable.

Joan writes beautifully about her mother’s final years, about being with friends and teachers at the end of their lives, about being alive in the Anthropocene, in what may be the end of civilization as we know it due to climate change, and finally about her own journey with cancer. This book is at once spiritual, political, nondual, serious, humorous, personal, impersonal, poetic, and always refreshingly honest. It offers no false hope, but points to the perfection of everything, just as it is.

The book is scheduled for release in November 2019 by New Sarum Press and will then be available on Amazon.

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