A powerful memoir from Natalie Golderg--the woman who changed the way writing is taught in this country--sharing her experience with cancer grounded in her practice of writing and Zen.
When longtime Zen practitioner and world-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg learns that she has a life-threatening illness, she is plunged into the challenging realm of hospitals, physicians, unfamiliar medical treatments, and the intense reality of her own impermanence. In navigating this foreign landscape, Natalie illuminates a pathway through illness that is grounded in the fierce commitment to embrace the suffering directly. In the middle of this, her partner discovers that she too has cancer. The cancer twins, as Natalie calls them, must together and apart grapple with survival, love, and the rawness of human connection. This book is a moving meditation on living a genuine life in full bloom.
About the Author
NATALIE GOLDBERG is the author of fourteen books, including Writing Down the Bones, which has changed the way writing is taught in this country. She teaches retreats nationally and internationally. She lives in New Mexico.
“Grounded, heartbreaking, and full of hope, Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home shows us how to meet the reality of illness and recovery head-on with courage and grace. Natalie Goldberg’s lifelong dedication to writing, art, and her practice of Zen is an inspiration.”—Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
“This is the book that didn’t exist: an unflinchingly gorgeous exploration of being sick while being very much alive. Natalie does not turn away from her pain and fear, but faces them directly, often with great tenderness. The result is that we can’t look away either. By not shielding us from her sorrow, we see more clearly our own. Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home is both generous and wise, glorious proof that our darkest moments are also our most illuminating, that being vulnerable is an act of true courage, and that often we are most present and awake when our future is uncertain. This book is both a comfort and a wonder. I couldn’t put it down.”—Katie Arnold, author of Running Home
“This riveting and deeply honest book is for all of us. It opens up the road of diagnosis, dying, and life in a way no other book I have read does. It is a powerful narrative of truth and rawness that will touch and teach us.”—Joan Halifax, PhD; abbot, Upaya Zen Center, founder of the Project on Being with Dying, author of Being with Dying and Standing at the Edge
“Fragile, bare, and enormous, Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home masterfully prepares us, young and old, with medical wisdom, love, and insight for our inevitable moments of facing death.”—Kazuaki Tanahashi, author of Painting Peace
“With alert stillness infused with intention, Natalie Goldberg meets mortality head-on. Beautifully written, this is a book about love, loss, and down-to-the-marrow courage.”—Wendy Johnson, author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate
“An honest, real, and sometimes raw meeting with life and death without apology. Brilliant.”—Frank Ostaseski, author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully
"In emotionally intense prose, Goldberg skillfully portrays the sorrow that can invade relationships when people are dealing with cancer ('Cancer demanded that I let the whole thundering world come home, that I accept the horror and unknown of human life—and death') and recalls her anxiety about death, her fear of the lack of control over her condition, and her desire to avoid acknowledging the impermanence of life. Despite her suffering, Goldberg holds to the teachings of Zen: pay attention to this moment, savor every experience, and live life in full bloom with vigor and gusto."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Goldberg’s account of a courageous, emotional journey is a meditation on living, not merely surviving—a guide for not only those gripped by illness but also for those confronting forces beyond their control."—Booklist