Recced by [personal profile] rydra_wong. Great rec, thanks!

Excellent, clearly written, honest memoir about the mind-body connection. My description is going to sound straightforward, but you really have to read the book to get what I got out of it. I've read a fair amount of memoirs and nonfiction about physical disability, mind-body issues, and even the type of paralysis Sanford has, and thought I understood much of what he discusses, at least on an intellectual level. After reading this book, I feel like I have a far, far better and more visceral understanding.

At age thirteen, Sanford was in a car accident which killed his father and sister, and paralyzed him from the chest down. He goes through puberty while still recovering from his injuries, which was fairly traumatic all by itself, and grows up seemingly doing fine, but inwardly suffering from being disconnected from his body. Well-meaning doctors told him that the sensations he had in the paralyzed parts were meaningless "phantom pains," and Sanford learned to dissociate himself from his body as a survival mechanism, to be able to endure otherwise unbearable pain.

Later in life, he begins studying yoga and learns that his entire body is still a part of him, and he does still have a perception of it and feelings from it. I already knew that people with spinal injuries do still have sensations below the point where the nerves are severed, but they're, essentially, transferred by indirect means and may be felt in other parts of the body or in different ways. Sanford explains not only what this actually feels like, but how important it is not only physically, but emotionally and even spiritually.

He is now a yoga teacher.

Fantastic book. Read it if you have any interest whatsoever in the subject matter, and by that I mean mind-body issues, not just physical disability or yoga.

Note that while Sanford doesn't get into tons of graphic details, there are fairly harrowing descriptions of injuries, medical procedures, and pain. The one that got to me the most was when he broke his neck a second time after the car crash, by tipping out of his wheelchair, and someone insisted on moving him despite his protests.

Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence
threewalls: threewalls (Default)

From: [personal profile] threewalls


Is this the same book as "Waking: A Passage into Body" by the same author? On Amazon, the cover has the subtitle you list, but the text about the book titles it as "Waking: A Passage into Body." (I can't tell if this is a UK/US edition difference.)
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


She rec'd that to me too! I have it, but haven't read it yet. It sounds amazing.
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


So glad you liked it! I figured it would be relevant to your interests. *g*

Just wanted to add a link to the review I wrote a while back, in case anyone's interested:

http://rydra-wong.dreamwidth.org/295988.html
nancylebov: (green leaves)

From: [personal profile] nancylebov


It's an amazing book-- and it suggests that the body awareness is a double system, with one part being the usual kinesthetic sense that guides movement and the other being a question mark.
.

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags