I Will Not Die an Unlived Life
by Dawna Markova

Conari, 2000. ISBN 978-1-57324-101-4.
Reviewed by Donna Van Straten Remmert
Posted on 01/04/2009

Nonfiction: Memoir

Dawna Markova creates the most amazing metaphors as she writes about her struggle to find meaning in her life. A great lover of story, she challenges her readers to ask themselves the same tough questions she asked herself while on a spiritual quest "in a tiny log cabin in Utah, 8,320 feet above just about everything." Alone and in awe of what Thomas Merton called "the hidden wholeness" of the natural world, she begins:

How do I accept the cancer that is coursing through my body?
How do I accept and forgive my father for the abuse he inflicted upon me as a child?
How do I let go of my only child who is now old enough to be on his own?
What about my relationships? Are they nurturing? Are they enough?
How can I slow down?

Her questions become archetypal when she talks about the time she died. Yes, died, and was then resuscitated and challenged to describe the experience: "An ice cube melts, then evaporates. Imagine you are the ice cube. A drop of rain falls into the ocean and becomes part of a swelling wave. Imagine you are the raindrop.A hand grabs so tightly onto something for decades that it becomes numb, and finally, it just opens, releases with a sigh. Imagine you are the hand. Imagine the safest experience you could ever know."

This poetic telling of a life well lived had great meaning for me, and although it expressed the hard facts of human existence, Markova's story is calming. Metaphors are magical.

Dawna Markova, Ph.D, is internationally known for her ground-breaking work in helping people learn with passion and live on purpose. She is the CEO of Professional Thinking Partners, Inc., cofounder of the Worldwide Women's Web, a former senior research affiliate of the Organizational Learning Center at MIT, and has established learnng communities around the world. She is one the coeditors of Random Acts of Kindness and Kids' Random Acts of Kindness. Dawna currently lives in the mountains of Utah. Visit her website.

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