This morning the chimney sweep guy called. Apparently, it’s been over two years since we’ve had him out to the house, and, according to our local fire marshal’s standards, we’re overdue for a good cleaning. Yes, it’s time to update the home-improvement plan! The ladder is ready and waiting, but where shall I start? Perhaps with the following question: How can I …? How can I make my home safer, more comforting, more colorful, beautiful, energy-efficient, nurturing, peaceful, joyful, meaningful, and welcoming for myself, my family, and our guests? Okay. That’s a start, but then what?
The book before you is like a homeowner’s manual shared by a seasoned and skilled home inspector. It’s a life-liver’s manual, offering a carefully honed, step-by-step method for improving life, individually and collectively, within and beyond your home. It inspires and guides a journey of life improvement with a ladder of its own, one well worth ascending (and descending) on a daily basis.
CalmUp® Journey: Your Daily Ascending Tool for Better Days is different from other self-help books. Though compact, it considers the whole. Dr. Gose encourages and guides us to make a conscious account of the whole of our human experience—intrapersonal and interpersonal. As promised, she invites us to integrate biology, psychology, sociology, and spirituality as we create and implement a vision of what can be.
And the spirituality she offers is refreshing in its ability to get to the heart of the matter, in every sense of that phrase. Rather than be seduced by the easy roads of “feel good” spirituality, she shares a definition of spirituality searching for balance through the disciplined practice of giving. It is rooted in the tradition of service to others—a tradition beating at the heart of all spiritual and religious paths. Here we’re offered a path, not just to feeling better, but to being better, becoming better people. CalmUp® Journey is an echo of an ancient calling (accompanied by a contemporary curriculum) to improve the character of humanity, not just our own personal experience.
CalmUp® Journey empowers us to transcend the limitations of conventional self-help methods, moving us from mere personal empowerment to transcendence and transformation. As such, it is an honor and a privilege for me to endorse Dr. Gose’s invitation to join her, as she draws upon her wealth of personal and professional experience, research and study, in adding “ever-expanding insight and awareness [and joy and peace] into what it means to be a whole human being.”
As you set forth on this journey, allow me to invoke another one via my translation of Genesis: 10-17 from the Hebrew:
And Jacob journeyed forth from the Well-of-Seven, and went towards Eight-Fold Bliss. And suddenly, he came upon a place and set up to spend the night there. As the sun came down to set, he took stones from that place, setting his head upon them, and he slept in the place. And he dreamt. There! A ladder, upright, reaching towards the earth, with its top stretching to the heavens. And there! Angels, Divine Beings, messengers, ascending and descending with it…
“There, now. I am with you, a guardian guiding your way, and I will not leave you until all that has been promised has been fulfilled.” And Jacob started from his sleep, and said, “Ah, yes. Holy-bliss is in this place, and I, well, I did not know it. And he was overcome with wonder and awe, and a good dose of fear, and said, “How…how wondrous is this place. It can be! It can be none other than a Divine sanctuary, a gateway to the heavens.”
Among the “stones” on the pages that follow are gems. Collect them. Write about them in your journal. Sleep on them. And when the sun rises again, I pray with confidence that you, too, will find yourself overflowing with gratitude and wonder at having found yourself in this place, inspired by this vision, equipped with this ladder, and accompanied by angels like Lorie, as we jointly lift ourselves and our world, one rung at a time, closer to an all-embracing bliss.
We can exist in a house, or we can live in a sanctuary. Now is the time to update that home-improvement plan, to call the chimney sweep, break out the ladder, and begin the ascent, again.
May the journey be blessed!
Rabbi Benjamin Arnold