Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book Review

Rather than ask Why me?, ask What now?

This might be said to be the essential focus of Shulamit Lando’s newly published book about her own experience with multiple sclerosis, a journey from initial fear and uncertainty when first diagnosed more than 30 years ago, to a new life of open avenues and spiritual maturity. Hope Beyond Illness (a guide to living well with a chronic condition) takes a philosophic, holistic look at how one may receive a medical diagnosis not as a penalty but as an invitation to grow, to become more fully the person one was intended to be.

The emphasis is not on new drugs, new medical procedures, but on new personal attitudes and useful spiritual procedures one can adopt to treat the illness, and oneself, from within. In an age that teaches an almost blind reliance on science and medicines, Ms. Lando’s views on the healing power of one’s own soul are a sorely needed breath of fresh air

“At the threshold of every great journey,” Lando quotes Claire Higgins, “we must first establish a direction and then, find the courage to take our first step, even when we don’t know where our foot will land, or where the step after will lead us. This way of traveling through life requires faith... the ability to feel, sense, and trust something that cannot yet or ever be seen.”

It is one of those strange contradictions in life that what seems on the surface to be adversity may in  fact be the cradle of great opportunity. Chronic illness brings about a change, not planned for, not asked for – but the essential nature of where that change takes us is really up to us. In Lando’s case, as in my own, the presence of illness has led to an exciting, fulfilling journey of growth, a new appreciation of the power of the spirit, the importance of compassion, the reality of faith. Upon facing a challenge, as Lando notes, we may feed the creature of our choice – that characterized by anger,  bitterness, hopelessness, or that characterized by love, joy and the spirit of discovery, wherein one’s grasp of what one truly believes is sharpened, filled out and can take form in one’s every day life.

Chasing symptoms with various medications and injections can, in itself, be discouraging and depressing, especially when we who have MS must admit that none of these treatments are curative but only palliative. Moreover, they may even make one feel worse than he felt beforehand. Again, we kneel before the doctor, groaning ‘Please help me.’ But there is a doctor in the house already – and modern studies are finding this more and more surely. As stated by the well respected Dr. Eben Alexander, “ and faith, the two ways of knowing the world that have defined our culture, are much, much more entwined than we tend to think they are.”

The doctor in the house is one’s own miraculous spirit, that which connects each person to pillars of knowledge, ability and strength that are beyond this world, beyond the door of the doctor’s office, beyond the prescription pad. Shulamit Lando invites you in her book to look both within and beyond at the strange gift that so-called chronic illness has bestowed.

[You can find this in eBook formats with a discount ($5.99) at: The first chapter is available to read for free. Hard copies are available on Amazon at:

Shulamit can be contacted at:
Tel: 972-544-868739
Skype:  chulinhu
Her client web site:]

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