The Multifaceted Life of Emil Molt (Father of the Waldorf School)
Entrepreneur, Political Visionary, and Seeker for the Spirit
Sophia Christine Murphy
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While it is true that Rudolf Steiner created Waldorf Education and its pedagogy, it is equally true that without Emil Molt, there would be no Waldorf schools, nor would Steiner have been called upon to create the curriculum guidelines. It was Emil Molt's idea to begin a school for the children of the workers in the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette factory, and it was Emil Molt who personally funded most of the school during Steiner's lifetime. He wanted very much to improve the lives of the factory workers and to create a school where children could grow into adults who bore within them both a social and spiritual vision.
Sophia Christine Murphy has given us a beautifully written, amazingly well-researched and detailed biography of her grandfather, Emil Molt. We are so happy to see his life portrayed with such care and understanding. Emil Molt's was truly a spirit who sought always to offset the destruction he saw from the war, from revolutionary movements with violent tendencies, and from uncaring industrialism. That he succeeded so very well is in itself inspiring - that his work continues in the form of Waldorf Schools, remarkable.
We hope many people can get to know Emil Molt through this book. The strength of his character comes as an answer to much that our world needs in the present.
Mr. God, This Is Anna
A True Story of a Very Special Friendship
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This is one of my all-time favorite books - a story that warms your heart as it awakens you to look at the world in a way that allows the spirit to pour through what you see.
Anna was a four year old, neglected and roaming the streets along London's docks during the 1930's. Flynn found her when he was out for a late-night stroll. He took her back to his mother's home, where he discovered that this delightful child could penetrate into the truth of anything she encountered. Anna had an astonishing ability to ask - and answer - life's largest questions, to get to the heart of any matter. Her total openness and honesty amazed all who knew her. She seemed to understand with uncanny certainty the purpose of being, the essence of feeling, the beauty of love.
This is a book I return to again and again - it's simply wonderful each and every time.
Bridge of Dreams
The Story of Paramananda, a Modern Mystic, and His Ideal of All-Conquering Love
Sara Ann Levinsky
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This is one of the most wonderful biographies ever written about one of the most exemplary people to have ever walked the Earth. It is a beautifully written book about a man with an extraordinary destiny and a love-inspired soul. The man who became Swami Paramananda was someone whose soul was so fully permeated by the living impulse of Love that even through the pages of a book written forty-four years after his death by someone who never met him, he is able to reach out and touch our hearts. We believe this book has so much to offer to modern spiritual seekers that we will continue to so long as it is available, in the hope that its message will find its way into more hearts.
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Temple Grandin's story is as miraculous and inspiring as that of Helen Keller. Mainly through her own determination and with the help of some very loving and insightful adults along the way, she discovered ways to free her self from the chains of autism and then went on to find ways to allow the special gifts of autism to be placed in service of the world. What we can learn from her is a lot.
As a child, she longed for affection, but because she was terrified of human contact and easily overstimulated, she became increasingly isolated instead. She also suffered from extreme anxiety attacks and was truly a prisoner of her autistic constitution.
Because she was also acutely observant and had a real understanding for the animals in her life (farm animals as well as pets), she was able to equate the responses of those animals to her own feelings and then to find ways to help herself out of the anxiety attack syndrome. And from there, her work both as a developer of effective autistic therapies and as a an animal scientist blossomed. As an adult, she is regarded as one of the most gifted animal scientists, and one of the highest functioning autistic individuals in the world.
Here story is remarkable: it teaches us as much about what it means to be human as it teaches about autism and its potentials. I just love this book.
Thinking in Pictures
My Life with Autism
Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
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Prepare for an incredible journey into the workings of the human mind - both normal and abnormal. Temple Grandin, a Ph.D. animal researcher who is also autistic, has gifted us all with an intimate "insiders account" of autism. You will learn more about the nature of this syndrome and of the workings of your own mind from this account than you could from any collection of theoretical reports. Further, because Temple is also a consummate scientist, her report is filled with the latest discoveries about the neurological basis of autism and about what therapies have been found to work and for whom they are effective. This is a great book that is certain to help anyone working with any special human needs. Outstanding!
Teresa of Avila
The Progress of a Soul
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This biography has become one of my favorite books - I have read it more than once and given it to many people since first finding. Unfortunately, it found its way to the bottom of my "books to upload" pile, so I am only now getting it to you. I can almost hear Teresa saying, "Finally! Now let's get on with it!" Medwick's retelling of St. Teresa of Avila's life is almost always from the perspective of how Teresa herself would have seen (or has written that she did see) the events around her. I love this, as it offers the utlimate in both historical accuracy and respect toward a very great woman who wove beatiful pathways toward salvation into a fabric of Western Civilization. Additionally, the author's penning of the story itself has the readability of a good novel even as it conveys a mindset and circumstances that, outwardly at least, are so very different from what we commonly encounter in the modern world. I feel that Teresa is a woman for our time as much as she was a woman for her own time - and that this biography offers one of the best portraits of this person who we can all benefit by knowing better. Here's a glimpse of what you will find between the covers of this book: From the time Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) entered a convent at the age of sixteen, she exhibited an independence of spirit not readily tolerated by the sixteenth-century Church or the sixteenth-century political community. Her expansive nature, intensity, and energy would fuel a lifetime of accomplishment, including most significantly the reform of Carmelite convents and the writing of a body of work that today is considered the cornerstone of Christian mysticism. In a finely wrought, multidimensional portrait of Teresa, Cathleen Medwick brings to life a woman of very human contradictions: a devoted daughter of the Church who bent the ruls - and barely survived the Spanish Inquisition - to achieve her goals; a practical, no-nonsense manager whose very personal brand of spirituality manifested itself in flamboyant, arguably erotic, raptures; a woman who, despite debilitating illness, traveled around Spain with the assurance (if not the authority) of a man to organize and strengthen Carmelite communities. There is much more that could be added, but you'll have more fun if I don't tell you every little thing. Do enjoy - this is truly a book for the heart.
Bones of the Master
A Buddhist Monk's Search for the Lost Heart of China
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I read an excerpt of Bones of the Master in the Spring 2000 issue of Tricycle. It knocked my socks off - such beauty, such writing, what a story! Without even bothering to question, I ordered a copy the very next day. Then I proceeded to read it as though it were food and I were starving. It filled me completely.
Bones of the Master is a true story about a Ch'an (Chinese Zen) Buddhist Master, Tsung Tsai, then living in upstate New York. At the age of 72, Tsung Tsai determined to return to China - from which he had escaped during the Great Leap Forward in 1959. His purpose was to find the bones of his beloved Master, rebury them with proper Buddhist rites, and create a shrine in his master's memory. He selects as his traveling partner his neighbor and "heart friend," George Crane, the author of the book. Crane's life up to that point had as little to do with the renunciation of desire as Tsung Tsai's had to do with its cultivation - the way they weave their worlds together is as much an adventure as their remarkable trek into the mountains of Inner Mongolia to carry out their unlikely task. The Truth that Tsung Tsai shares with us along the way is as powerfully transforming as it is beautiful and wise.
Bones of the Master is so valuable on so many levels that I am joyous to offer it to you!
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It's hard to know what to say about a book whose every passage evokes tears of both joy and grief. Honey-Bun is as much a Song of Songs to the love that passes between human and animal as it is a Requiem for a lost friend. Anne Stockton has not written just another beautifully written story about a beloved pet (and I love such stories); she has created a work of art - poetic prose, luminous pastel paintings, and a story both unique and universal. This is a very special book - the kind that is treasured and cherished as it is passed among family and friends.
She Would Draw Flowers
A Book of Poems
Kirsten Savitri Bergh
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She Would Draw Flowers is the legacy of a vibrant, extraordinarily talented young woman whose life came to a sudden close at age 17 in a car accident. I find that I cannot read it without tears coming to my eyes - that someone so filled with enthusiasm and a love of life should have left so soon, so abruptly. However, through those tears, another feeling arises, one of joy and renewed faith that such a gifted person (and these poems and drawings are genuine art, far from the sentimental and contrived) even in so brief a time should have managed to leave us this rare gift. Outstanding.
Choices of Love
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I put off posting this book in our Book Shop, not because I didn't like it, but because it touched my heart so deeply that I have had trouble finding the words to convey what lies between its covers. What Dorothy Maclean has poured into Choices of Love is nothing less than a mirror reflecting the burgeoning Love that overflows the Earth and can be seen anywhere one chooses to look for it. She has also shared exercises and attitudes that we can use to develop our capacity to see, hear and feel this Love as she is able to do. My experience of working my way through Choices of Love was multifaceted - I received gift upon gift of beauty, found door after door opening to me, was graced with epiphany upon epiphany, and finally found myself dropping chain after chain, able to embrace and be embraced by the Love which sustains all Creation. May you experience it likewise.
Dorothy Maclean is a cofounder of the Findhorn Community in Scotland and author of To Hear the Angels Sing [available in the Nature section].