Polyphonist’s #CBR5 Review #28: Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood by Wayne Muller

My minister recommended I read this after I found out my husband cheated on me. Well, after I told him about that and he asked me to tell him about my life growing up and some of my other relationships. And I told him about my alcoholic and workaholic father, my mother with her host of problems, the familial strife and secrets, the arrested development I had until I was, oh, I don’t know…well into my 20’s more than likely. I hit the library, ordered a copy and started reading…and it hurt how close to home it hit. I don’t think I made it past the first two or three chapters the first time before returning it. Other books were easier. I was ready for them.

About a month ago, I decided to give it another try. Many things were changing in my life and I needed to take a serious look at some patterns that kept cropping up, see if the past I thought I had “dealt” with was really playing more into my present day than I thought.

And holy hell, I saw myself and my family (and my husband) in so much of this. Patterns of behavior, explanations to those patterns. And throughout the whole book, a gentle, uplifting message. That you can change and transcend those bad roots. And it gives you specific things to meditate about, clear ways to think about things in a new way, to examine why you do certain things and how to improve them.

I was partially afraid it would be a “blame your parents for all the shit that’s wrong with you and take no responsibility yourself” kind of book but it wasn’t. It acknowledges that there are some really fucked up things that parents or family members can do, but that you are the one who needs to make peace with that and move forward. It reminds you that you are not a powerless child anymore. That most likely you are an adult in charge of your own food, clothing, shelter, love, relationships, transportation. There is power in that. There is power in changing your thinking and seeking better from yourself and others in your life. And there is comforting power in this book.