A Life in Light: Meditations on Impermanence
From the bestselling author of Women Rowing North and Reviving Ophelia-a memoir in essays reflecting on radiance, resilience, and the constantly changing nature of reality.
In her luminous new memoir in essays, Mary Pipher-as she did in her New York Times bestseller Women Rowing North-taps into a cultural moment, to offer wisdom, hope, and insight into loss and change. Drawing from her own experiences and expertise as a psychologist specializing in women, trauma, and the effect of our culture on our mental health, she looks inward in A Life in Light to what shaped her as a woman, one who has experienced darkness throughout her life but was always drawn to the light.
Her plainspoken depictions of her hard childhood and life's difficulties are dappled with moments of joy and revelation, tragedies and ordinary miseries, glimmers and shadow. As a child, she was separated from her parents for long periods. Those separations affected her deeply, but in A Life in Light she explores what she's learned about how to balance despair with joy, utilizing and sharing with readers every coping skill she has honed during her lifetime to remind us that there is a silver thread of resilience that flows through all of life, and that despite our despair, the light will return.
In this book, she points us toward that light.
Praise for A Life in Light: Meditations on Impermanence
"[A] gentle but radiant memoir." - New York Times Book Review
“Radiant essays about how joy and loss often coexist. . . To nudge readers toward building their own 'transcendent narratives,' Pipher braids in insights from her 25 years as a therapist, citing how acknowledging 'evidence of growth' in one's story, regardless of how big or small, can open up pathways toward healing. Those struggling to overcome darkness will find a guiding light in this incandescent work.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“For psychologist Pipher, the light found in nature, caring relationships, work, and books has always been the key to happiness. In this beautifully written memoir, her memories of childhood in Nebraska are vivid and poignant. . . . This lovely book teaches gentle lessons on gratitude and celebrating life.” —Booklist, starred review
"Her relationship to the planet is primal and exuberant... [A] luminous and unflinching memoir." - Psychotherapy Network
“A writer discovers herself in a new light... [Pipher] reflects on aging, loneliness, and happiness in a serene, gently told memoir. . . . Sensitive meditations from a 'solar-powered' writer.” —Kirkus Reviews
“In her incandescent new book, Mary Pipher shines a light on what really matters, and in doing so, she reflects our lives back at us with exquisite awareness. I was deeply moved by every page, laughing, crying, always reflecting on her words long after. She has given us all essential lessons on how to balance despair with a sense of wonder and inspires us to lead more light-filled lives.” —Lori Gottlieb, New York Times-bestselling author of MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE
“Mary Pipher's work, always illuminating, is especially so in this dazzling memoir with its focus on light and transcendence. Beautifully written, heartfelt and poignant, the book draws universal lessons from the rich details of Mary's life. Her luminous spirit shines on every page.” —Jean Kilbourne, Senior Scholar, Wellesley Centers for Women, author, cultural theorist, filmmaker
“Mary Pipher transforms her own turning points into life lessons that illuminate purpose, intention, and joy for all her readers.” —Jane Isay, author of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
“In this memoir in essays, Mary Pipher reflects on her life with profound insight, unflinching honesty, and deep compassion for others-and herself-that will help all of us learn to live a life in light.” —Gretchen Rubin, New York Times-bestselling author of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT
“Mary Pipher is a beacon, a light-bearer, a bodhisattva. Her life stories illuminate ways to be calm, connected, resilient, and joyful, regardless of circumstances. A Life in Light offers hope and direction while nurturing the heart and soul, mind and spirit.” —Lama Surya Das, bestselling author of AWAKENING THE BUDDHA WITHIN
“William Blake says good is only found 'in the minute particulars,' and Mary Pipher here honors the particular beauty of memory, heartbreaking and heartwarming, with a tender presence and a lifelong opening to the light.” —Jack Kornfield, author of A PATH WITH HEART
“A life story but also a homage to light... A beautifully written, quiet, contemplative memoir that many will enjoy.” —Library Journal
“Women of all ages will find much to reflect on, and respond to, in this collection of lives lived and lost.” —NPR, Best Books of the Year on WOMEN ROWING NORTH
“[Pipher's] 'quest for joy and happiness' is sincere, as is her commitment to helping other women achieve theirs. Some readers will treasure the book. All readers will admire her unadorned but wise summation that answered prayers are 'a surcease of worry.'” —Washington Post on WOMEN ROWING NORTH
“Both practical and inspiring.” —New York Times on WOMEN ROWING NORTH
“Thoughtful, wise, and profoundly transformative ... This is truly a one-of-a-kind book, one that I've been waiting for.” —Julia Alvarez on WOMEN ROWING NORTH