SUFFERING and Pre-View of Book “Dancing With Elephants”


Have read early pre-view for first 3 chapters of Jarem’s thought-ful book “Dancing with Elephants:
Mindfulness Training For Those Living With Dementia, Chronic Illness or an Aging Brain”.

Tru here. I just pre-ordered book thru Amazon because Jarem has offered FANTASTIC bargain;
Great Mindfulness Package to anyone who buys the book and emails him ( a picture of their receipt before March 12, 2017!”

  • A More Healing Way – audio/video series – Jarem interviews other authors on facing death, disease and chronic illness ((Tru here: interests me personally because includes videos from both Patch Adams MD & Jon Kabat-Zinn, among others))
  • Access to a live, 60-minute webinar on “Mindfully Facing Life and Death” with Q&A with Jarem
  • Audiobook read by Jarem ((Tru here: very helpful for my own comprehension to have both visual reading and audio hearing of same words simultaneously))
  • All the digital editions of the book (kindle, nook, ipad, pdf) ((Tru here: personally much appreciate Kindle tools))
  • 30-day Dancing with Elephants Journal and Workbook

Preface is that my dementia symptoms make reading comprehension difficult, and was pleased to discover manuscript is separated into bite-sized pieces that do not appear to need a whole lot of memory retaining past paragraphs in order to process current paragraph.  I use the Kindle “NoteBook” tool, so appreciate access in that format.  But most important is that it will be available in audio format as well, allowing 2 sensory inputs simultaneously with same words.

So far, it reminds me of my two other favorites; As in “I asked for wonder” by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, it is chock full of jewel-like quotes that are oh-so-applicable for my life.  As in “Deeper into the Soul; beyond dementia and Alzheimer’s toward Forgetfulness care” by Nader Robert Shabahangi PhD, the author asks reader to look at dementia (and in this case “suffering”) from a completely new perspective.

Jarem Sawatsky PhD looks at dementia, loss and suffering thru eyes of person with Mennonite beliefs,  strongly trained in Peace-building, and healing Justice.   Since his diagnosis with a terminal disease, he has been blogging at Dancing with Elephants, exploring how peacebuilding and mindfulness insights might help those facing chronic illness, dementia and aging. His influences include writers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Paul Kalanithi, Anne Lamot, Atul Gawande, John Paul Lederach, Jean Vanier and Lisa Genova and singers like Leonard Cohen, Passenger, Norah Jones, and Adele.

INTRO excerpts which are my favorites:

  • “When you find out that you are dying from an incurable disease, a kind of clarity can emerge. It is the clarity to distinguish between what matters and what does not matter. … This book chronicles what I see as important. It is my cheat sheet for facing disease and aging in a healing kind of way.”   ((Tru here.  I have also spoken of that separation of priorities.))
  • “… laughing, and stumbling my way into healing.  Not the kind of healing that takes away the disease but the kind of healing that awakens the heart to love.”
  • “Suffering is real and must be faced head-on.  But suffering alone is not enough.  On the other side of suffering can be joy — and also more suffering.  We must learn to dance with both.”
  • “Our culture offers abundant advice on how to achieve financial and career success, but there are very few books on how to embrace the downward path of losing your mind.  We have success tips for leaders, but almost no “success tips” for the billions of us facing disease, dementia, and aging.  This book explores the art of dancing with elephants.  I invite you to join me in this dance.”

Embracing the Hard Things (chapter excerpts):

  • … it requires substantial mental (and sometimes theological) gymnastics for people to be able to justify a view of the world in which uncomfortable or unpleasant things shouldn’t happen. …
  • The temptation to try and insulate oneself from the hard things remains both common and understandable, but I still don’t want to run from the storm.  I don’t want to run from the hard things.  Healing is not the absence of the storm.  Healing is the way we ride. …
  • We cannot learn to revere life if we cannot wrap our hearts around the idea that suffering exists.  The art of dancing with elephants is not the elimination of suffering.  We don’t kill the elephant.  We learn to dance with it.  All living beings suffer.  To revere life, we cannot remain in denial but must understand that suffering and death are inevitable.  This truth is not the end of the story but it is a necessary starting point on this journey. …

…   ***   …

Looking forward to finding many more “jewels” in remaining chapters.

Pre-ordered at

Jarem’s most-recent blog entry

* Admin issues: SHARE dementia awareness thru buttons below. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the form of comments, but please filter your comments with truthful loving kindness to all concerned. If interested in receiving notice of future blog postings, subscriptions are available through a “follow” button in the upper left corner (MS Explorer) or lower right (Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Chrome). If there is an advertisement below, I have no control over what is shown. My own full legal name is Truthful Loving Kindness. With the new terminology my current diagnosis is Mild Cognitive Impairment, but my neurologist said I am in a unique position for helping because I have “one foot in each door”. Copyright 2017-02/22. Tags are dementia, suffer, chronic, book, Jarem Sawatsky. Registered & Protected
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One thought on “SUFFERING and Pre-View of Book “Dancing With Elephants”

  1. Pingback: Nxt= 12 from Me | Truthful Loving Kindness

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