Debra Darvick reviews Robert J. Wicks’ book ‘Perspective’

Brother, courage comes and goes. Hold on for the next supply.
Thomas Merton

The first of three journals I kept, Elliot's first hair cut, his birth announcement in the NY Times.

The first of three journals I kept, Elliot’s first hair cut, his birth announcement in the NY Times.

The first three years of my son’s life, I kept a daily journal.  Unbelievable, right? Through diapers and colic, first teeth and first words, I made time to record the wonder of our days.

Somewhere in those pages, sleep-starved and overwhelmed I wrote, “I just want to have perspective! I want to know that everything is going to turn out OK.”

Years later I found the journal and began rereading it. I couldn’t help but smile at the mother I was so long ago. Rereading that dramatic and universal cri de coeur, I realized what was impossible to grasp as a new mother: By its very definition, perspective requires time and distance from the very thing one strives so hard to see clearly.

I thought of that journal page when Robert J. Wicks’ book Perspective: The Calm Within the Storm came my way. Instead of time and distance, Wicks guides readers to perspective by “improv[ing] our sense of reality and acceptance of it.” The personal growth goals Wicks writes about are not new, but his approach is worth considering for those who strive for a healthy perspective.

Wicks structured this clear and useful book so that it is rich with bullet points, questionnaires for self-reflection, and carefully honed text bytes that can form the basis for a lifetime of step-by-step personal transformation. In addition to explication, educative text and recollections drawn from his own life and that of other seekers, philosophers, and authors, Wicks shares insights culled from the most up-to-date research in cognitive behavioral therapy and the psychology of optimism.

The chapter I found most intriguing focused on achieving perspective on one’s “personal darkness.” Recognizing that trauma is a part of life, Wicks invites readers to acknowledge trauma as a terrible experience and then recognize its potential as an opportunity for powerful growth and meaning. Reading this chapter, I was reminded of a quote by Thich Naht Hahn: No mud, no lotus.

The young perspective-seeking mother I was might have written that in her journal. And even though I long ceased writing about my children each day, as blessed as we have been, I sometimes still wish I could be assured that everything will turn out OK.

First page of the journal begun when Elliot was three months old. The apologia in red at the top of the page refers to a first three months of feeding and wiping...
First page of the journal begun when Elliot was three months old. The apologia in red at the top of the page refers to a first three months of feeding and wiping…

Care to read more?

A NOTE from ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm …

  • ROBERT WICKS INTERVIEW—Related to Debra’s review, you also will enjoy our in-depth interview with Dr. Robert J. Wicks about his new book.
  • Cover This Jewish Life by Debra DarvickGET DEBRA’S BOOKReadTheSpirit Books produces important books covering interfaith and cross-cultural issues and is proud to publish Debra’s signature collection of real-life stories, This Jewish Life. In this wide-ranging collection of true stories, Debra carries readers through an entire year with dozens of men, women and young people who shape their lives around their shared Judaism. Whatever your faith, This Jewish Life is an adventure in meaningful living. Using Dr. Robert J. Wicks’s language: It’s a book with a valuable perspective on life.
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4 thoughts on “Debra Darvick reviews Robert J. Wicks’ book ‘Perspective’

  1. Laya

    What a great review. The book sounds insightful, and I will pass your post on to some of my friends who can, like me, benefit from these insights. I love the journal entries! As a young mother I always thought “I should ” but I was too caught up in the diapers, the laundry and the fatigue. Kudos to you on both blogging and journalling!

  2. Steffi

    Gratitude for the evolving person you are. . .and for efforts to continually pass along wisdom knowing knowledge does not belong within but universally to us all. That you whole heatedly guided and continue to share guidance I believe is your gift . . .being a living example of whatever stage of growth you manifest. I know Elliot benefitted from your intentions and, through your blogs, we all do as well. Xoxo

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