Home reviews “The Art of Flourishing” Book Review

“The Art of Flourishing” Book Review

written by Head Health Nutter August 18, 2011

How would you like to learn strategies and techniques to live a more fulfilling life? By this I mean: how to activate your best self, find passion and love, and more effective communication methods so your relationships are more enriching? Then The Art of Flourishing is your book!

Wow, wow, and more WOW! Dr. Jeffrey Rubin’s latest book, The Art of Flourishing: A New East-West Approach to Staying Sane and Finding Love in an Insane World, is a work of art in itself; and I’ll be referring to it often as I continue to pursue balance, happiness and fulfillment in my life. It’s basically a handbook for it!

About The Art of Flourishing

Dr. Rubin’s approach to finding and maintaining happiness in our crazy world is simple:

“Self-care is the foundation of intimacy, and intimacy is the culmination of self-care.”

(This is what Live Lighter is all about: “Healthy Living Will Set You Free!”)

He has integrated the best parts of:

  • Psychotherapy: to find meaning in our negative reactions, transform them and discover the strength to face life’s ordeals.
  • Yoga: to learn about the mind-body connection, become more present and how a change in breath can change our state of mind.
  • Meditation: to train ourselves to be more engaged, better listeners, identify our destructive behaviour and become more compassionate.

Dr. Rubin teaches readers how to grow as individuals and nourish our connections with others – as in all relationships, intimate and otherwise. He does this by providing tools to handle emotions wisely, communicating them constructively, discovering our individual purpose and uncovering barriers to intimacy.

These barriers are “the hidden emotional weeds that kill passion, such as conflicts over communication and power, boundaries and sexuality. Drawing from case examples and personal experiences, Rubin explains how to remove these obstacles to nurture empathy and mutual respect.”

Here’s how the author and his publishing company are choosing to describe the book:

You can change. You can find love. You can flourish.

In more than thirty years of studying, practicing, and teaching Eastern meditative and Western psychotherapeutic disciplines, Dr. Jeffrey B. Rubin has discovered that combining both paths is profoundly more effective than following one alone.

With an easy-to-follow, accessible strategy, The Art of Flourishing gives readers the tools to resolve the challenges that interfere with achieving enduring fulfillment within themselves and their relationships.

The Art of Flourishing is more than a practical manual for flourishing in these turbulent times. It offers step-by-step procedures for broadening the scope of one’s own well-being while deepening intimate relationships. But more, it displays Dr. Rubin’s profound wisdom of the human psyche. His many years of uniquely combining the best of Eastern and Western approaches in his own life and as a psychotherapist make this book a treasure.”

—Joel Kramer, coauthor of The Guru Papers and The Passionate Mind Revisited

 About the Author

Dr. Rubin has the most inspiring, fascinating story in the Introduction about how he started this journey of creating what he calls, “Meditative Therapy” (which he uses in his practice) but you’ll have to get the book to find out because of copyright restrictions.

However, here’s his bio:

Dr. Rubin is considered one of the leading integrators of the Eastern meditative and Western psychotherapeutic traditions and is the creator of meditative psychotherapy, a practice that has come about as a result of thirty years of study and teaching. A practicing psychotherapist in New York, Dr. Rubin has taught at various universities, psychoanalytic institutes, and Buddhist and yoga centers. His previous books include The Good Life and Psychotherapy and Buddhism.

You can read a more detailed biography on his website: www.drjefferyrubin.com.

How topical is The Art of Flourishing?

We really ARE living in an insane world. Yes, technology has made some things easier and enhanced our connection with others, but at the same time it’s also made life more complicated and less connected in other ways.

We’re on information overload, can you argue that? We’re constantly wading through piles of info, from the Internet looking for relevance to our lives – and it’s consuming our limited time! It’s also contributed to more sedentary lifestyles and a major disconnection with Nature, especially in our younger generations.

And my biggest pet peeve: sitting down with someone and they pull out their cell to talk, text or surf the web (although if they’re surfing the net for info to enrich the conversation, then cool). My first instinct when this happens is to leave: I instantly feel disrespected and uninteresting.

I cannot help but take it personally: it’s blatant that they have more interest in their phone than speaking with me – even when I KNOW it takes two people to hold a conversation. Thank goodness for Dr. Rubin because his technique will help me control my feelings, then effectively deal with this enraging act by sharing my feelings about the behaviour (calmly and respectfully, without attacking the other person).

Dr. Rubin covers all this in his book and more. He teaches us how to create boundaries so we can protect ourselves and our relationships from the negativity in the world by “expanding our inner space.” He provides brilliant and easy methods for readers to gain more spirituality and wholeness in a material world.

An excerpt from the book:

LISTEN TO THE RUMBLE STRIP

My paternal grandmother lived until she was ninety-four. I think one of her secrets was that she listened to her body and responded accordingly. Whenever she began feeling slightly “under the weather,” for example, she went to sleep earlier and often prevented incipient illness. Humans have a remarkable capacity to pay attention to and read feedback. We have our own version of rumble strips, those safety features on the shoulders of many highways that alert sleepy drivers to potential danger by causing a loud vibration when their cars veer off the road. Our personal rumble strips are sometimes subtle, but often loud and clear. Emotional resentment in a relationship often indicates that we feel deprived and are being self-neglectful. Feeling impatient and irritable may signal that we are overburdened and need to set better boundaries and lessen our emotional load. Jealousy often informs us about what we want more of. Eating when we are full or shopping when money is tight may signal that we feel emotionally deprived.

When we feel cranky and overwhelmed it may be feedback about the harmful impact of what we are exposing ourselves to. We need to set limits to protect ourselves. Turn off the radio in your car on your way home from work. Let your mind soak in the quiet and the scenery so that you can rest and recover from the grueling day.

When we dread answering the phone it may signal that we need to turn the sound off and let our voice mail pick up calls because we are either engrossed in a meaningful activity that nourishes us or too depleted to talk. In either case, pay attention to your need and do not let outside forces interfere with self-care.

…Expanding inner space is one of the foundations of flourishing. When we cultivate clarity, equanimity, and centeredness we can both resist those cultural forces that threaten to cloud our minds and sabotage our well-being, and access our enormous capacity for creative living.

Inner space is central to flourishing. It fosters more openness and clarity and ingenuity grows and flowers. We can more readily access our dreams and passions and begin to craft a life of meaning and passion.

A few more tidbits to interest you:

Here’s a link to an audio interview, The Fair Fight with Dr. Rubin on webtalkradio.net’s show, Communication360. Although I should warn you, the talk show hosts talk more than Dr. Rubin does… It’s an interesting piece nevertheless, and he talks about some of the information and tools found in The Art of Flourishing.

For those who are on the brink of a break up or divorce, or have just broken up, how do you know if you’re simply giving up and taking the easy road, or if it’s worth fighting for? The Huffington Post published a post (an excerpt from the book) using the same title as the chapter, When It’s Not Really Over.

Conclusion

One of the biggest lessons I learned from this book was that relationships, especially intimate ones, are the ultimate personal growth tool. Our loved ones make us so mad and upset because they trigger deep emotional wounds from childhood. Learning to constructively handle our emotions and conflicts actually help us heal at the core level.

I whole-heartedly urge you to pick up The Art of Flourishing if you are at all interested in creating a rich and fulfilling life you love and wish to maintain it. Buy it for $16 on Amazon.com here and if in Canada, click on the link or image below for Amazon.ca.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Art of Flourishing in exchange for an honest review.


The Art of Flourishing: A New East-West Approach to Staying Sane and Finding Love in an Insane World

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