Sarah (in red hat) with husband, Paul, and Rivvy, watching moon rise over Boulder

It has been a year now since Recipes for a Sacred Life came out, a year in which we met, or met anew, through my book. It feels so much longer; the year was so full.

There was the amazing joy of the book being published, eight years after I first began writing it.

There were the magical mornings and evenings of meeting you at readings, where together we created a sacred space.

There was the delight (and relief!) of receiving beautiful reviews and five national awards, and of being a Redbook book club pick-of-the-month!

There was my heart being touched when hearing from readers that the book inspired or uplifted them, gave them pleasure, or helped them heal.

And there were laugh-out-loud moments. Like in Pacifica, California, when I entered their sole bookstore, asked for owner Aaron, and proceeded to give him my pitch for stocking my book. It was only after he said, “I think you want the Aaron next door” that I realized I was in a bait & tackle shop — which explained the lack of books and abundance of fishing rods!

Yet all of this happened, for me, in a time of sadness. For this was a year in which so many of my friends, family members, and heroes died that I almost felt the world — my world — was disappearing. It became a world without Nelson Mandela, one of our greatest teachers. A world without Reb Zalman, one of my first and constant spiritual teachers, who appears in two stories in my book. And hardest of all, a world without my beloved friend Sarah — who read every page of my book as I wrote it, who appears so spiritedly in its stories, and who died so bravely when her brain cancer returned.

In the midst of this, I gave book readings in twelve cities, and my normal performance anxiety was exacerbated by my sense of loss.

They want me to be joyful, I said to John. And I’m not feeling joyful.

They want me to be spiritual, I thought. And I’m not feeling spiritual.

But gratefully, I discovered that I was wrong. All you wanted — perhaps all that is ever wanted — was for me to be real.

So I thank you for all you have taught me; for your loving feedback and support; and for showing me, in case I forget, how many good people there are in this world. And, as Reb Zalman often said, “The only way to get it together is … together.”


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