About the Book

About the Author

About the Film

See THE CALLING Facebook Page
by clicking the link below

Book Excerpts

Book Reviews


Media Packet

Event Schedule

Speaking Engagements


Therapy Sessions

Life Coaching


Author's Notes

Favorite Links

Contact Us

Excerpts from The Gift of Pain

p. xviii, Barbara Altemus
"On my personal healing journey, I have learned that everyone experiences pain - physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual pain. Pain is a wake-up call and it can trigger renewal, or entrenchment. Pain affects individuals, families, and nations, bringing forth their best and worst qualities. It can be felt as a sharp or chronic physical pain, or as a whisper in the night, a longing, a deep loneliness, an insecurity, an overpowering fear, or an excruciating assault on the soul. Many people go to extraordinary lengths to avoid pain, often sacrificing the quality of their lives to do so."

Chapter One, Rebuilding the Self After Childhood Family Trauma

p. 6, Isabel Allende
"I have never changed out of joy. Joyful experiences have not forced me to change. What forces me to change is something stressful, something very painful most of the time. That is what forces me to go inside myself and see what I've got to deal with. What are my resources? And by bringing those resources out to the surface and using them I learn what my strengths are. I needed to go through all of the changes, all the exiles, all the losses in order to know that I can adapt. That whatever happens I will be sooner or later OK. But in order to learn that I had to go through those stages, and pain is a great teacher."
p. 12, Iyanla Vanzant
"If you look at what a victim is, victims have to be hurt. I was a victim all of my life and I was thirty-five years old before I realized there are no victims. It occurred to me, 'Then what does that make me? What am I going to be? It took a while of flailing around in self-flagellation to figure out what I'm going to be. I thought I was a victim of poverty, of abuse, of neglect, of incest. But now I know those experiences taught me what I needed to learn."

Chapter Two,  Redefining Success and Failure

p. 36, Rigoberta Menchu
"Receiving the Nobel Prize is like having a platform and a big microphone. It helps me with my mission. It is a mission of struggle and of work, of sacrifice, of effort. It is an example of a woman like me, who was born into picking cotton and coffee, who was born into misery, poverty, and neglect, who was born abandoned far away in a place without a name. I was a servant and cleaned bathrooms and mopped floors. I did many jobs that dignify women and dignify people. I should claim the Nobel Prize as a platform to claim dignity and justice for all. I think it is something very great, very sacred. I feel this Nobel Prize is active. It is proactive and so I struggle. I have no limit for working with the Nobel Prize. I believe it is a blessing from the gods because I did not receive it because of my own merits. I received it because our nuhuales are at my side, they accompany me they love me, and have in some way punished me in order to put me before these things that sometimes are extremely challenging."

p. 42, Martin Sheen
"... pain is only part of life. It is not the purpose of life and it is not the end of life and it is not life itself. It's part of the journey to freedom. I think our purpose here is to win our freedom, consciously..."

Martin doesn't experience the reality of any given day without experiencing some measure of pain, regret, guilt, doubt, fear, and anxiety. "Š. These are all very painful emotions. I think what motivates me is the reality of the pain of others...So I try to gauge my pain barometer by the pain I witness in others. And the reverse is true as well. The joy barometer is equally as powerful. Tears come to my eyes with equal ease to measure the pain and the joy. You can't have pain without joy and you can't have joy without pain. Both are fleeting and they are equally important."

p.39, Dick Gregory
Dick began to understand that there was something greater than being a Hollywood celebrity when he was "just being in the movement and seeing the evilness and seeing decent people not get scared and I'm scared. I'm sitting there and I'm looking at them folks stand there, lookin' at these women, all women. Corns on their feet, bunions, standin' there, waitin' to die, if that's what it comes to. And I just sat there and I thought to myself, "You know these people never get their name in the paper.' And I just know right then, I'm on the side of right, don't need to be validated by the New York Times, Washington Post, or NBC or CBS. It was a wonderful feeling.

"The movement opened me up to where I could accept certain things. And I looked around and I took my time and began to understand the true meaning of love, peace, that you don't have to have whiskey and sex, to have a party. And then I realized it's a quiet thing within me."

Chapter Three, Recovery From Addiction

p. 51, Martin Sheen
"Whether you're alcoholic or not, our addictions are many fold. We're addicted to ourselves egotistically, we're addicted to food images, behavior and prejudices not just chemical dependency. We're addicted to a lot of other attachments that keep us from ourselves, from God, and from one another.

p. 92, Martin Sheen, Barbara Altemus
"Martin was able to apply the teachings he learned in his own recovery process during his son Charlie's crises with substance abuse. Over the years they have continued to learn and grow together. Martin says, "The lessons we have both learned are still going on. We have a lot of issues that are now out in the open. The passage of time has been very healing for both of us. It's an ongoing process, you know I adore him. He may be my greatest teacher. My wife said that about him months ago at the height of the crises, and I thought she was mad. She said, 'He's the only one who has forced us to look at ourselves and be honest with where we were, who we were, and how we were. He took us into places we never would have chosen to go on our own. That's a teacher. We learned about the need for scrupulous honesty in our lives."

p. 56-57, Dick Gregory
"I smoked four packs of cigarettes a day. I really didn't realize I was addicted to the cigarettes because as long as I could afford what I wanted, then I didn't think it was an addiction. I hought of addiction when hearing about drug dealers, when people start robbing people and seeing the winos standing on the corner out there begging just to get a bottleŠ. I got hooked on cigarettes and alcohol because they are legal. If drugs had been legal, I would have been on them too.

When I went on my forty-day fast I didn't consciously give up my addiction. I didn't say, 'I'm not going to smoke cigarette again or drink alcohol again.' It's just you don't do it while you're fastingŠ.I got so clean and pure from the fasting that taking my first drink of alcohol again burned my throat, and I said, "No way! And when I took my first cigarette again, I said, 'No way! That's how I stopped smoking, drinking, and overeating."

p. 63, Jack Canfield, Barbara Altemus
(Barbara) From ever dark and painful experience, light and healing can emerge. About himself and his family, Jack relates," From the agony of all of this came a most extraordinary blessing. We were told about a recovery program that is spiritually inspired. In this program, for the first time, my son has left a connection with his higher power, and has begun to pray. This is giving him the strength and determination to begin the process of moving through and beyond the pain of addiction." ' (Barbara) Jack has been able to find the wisdom to help people cope with the many layers of pain present in families with substance abuse. The family dysfunction and ensuing hurt that substance abuse caused catapulted Jack onto a healing journey. And what Jack has learned along the way, he shares with others through his book and seminars. As Jack so poignantly illustrates, we teach best what we most need to learn.'

Chapter Four, Remembering Who We Are After Separation and Divorce

p. 76, Iyanla Vanzant
"I was still mad. I had to ask myself, what was I mad at? What I was really mad at was myself. I was mad that I had stayed that long. I was mad that I had accepted the abuse, because my marriage was a very abusive marriage. I was angry that I couldn't get him to do what I wanted him to do. I was angry that he left me for another woman. And I was angry that, while he was abusing me and sleeping around, I stayed. That's what I was angry at, but of course, I put that on him. So once I really could sit down with myself and tell the truth about what really happened, and accept my share of the responsibility for what went on, and how long it went on, then I could begin to move out of the pain."

p. 80, Iyanla Vanzant, Barbara Altemus
"Much pain is caused by obsessing about the past or fretting about the future." (Barbara) "What I've come to realize was that this relationship acted as a catalyst for helping me to discover who I am, and it helped create a closer relationship with my Higher Power. And, most important, it taught me to finally learn how to love myself. In doing so, I am discovering wholeness within and cherishing the recognition that my daughter and myself are enough-we are family. It has become clear that until we move through our pain, and heal, our unlearned lessons become issues that drive us throughout our lives."

p. 82, Barbara Altemus
"We are each on a very sacred journey. People and situations come into our lives because they allow us the opportunity to grow into the whole person we truly are. When we experience violence and abuse, it is possible to find peace and kindness instead."

Chapter Five, Restoring Harmony Between the Mind and Body

p. 87, Larry Dossey
If we're going to understand the transforming powers of pain and the discomfort and unpleasantness in general in our lives, Larry believes that "we're going to have to engage it. This generally means ceasing to act automatically. For example, instead of taking a medication to eradicate pain in the next five minutes, perhaps to sit and be with it and to explore it, to engage it psychologically and mentally for a while before doing whatever is necessary to dull the pain. It means trying to achieve a friendlier relationship with discomfort in general, toward challenges in general, of which pain is only one particular variety. It means to stop being driven by discomfort, by pain, by any sort of challenge, and try to put ourselves in the driver's seat, to have pain react to us. We don't want to be the victim of pain, but we want to listen to its messages."
p. 87, He suggests one way to deal with pain is to use the particular imagery process of focusing on pain as a red ball. He explains," To enter the pain, assign it a color, perhaps a taste, texture, shape, a round form. And after you've focused on it as intently as possible, honor that red ball as being your pain, put it in your hand, and then take that pain, that red ball of pain, and go bury it under the biggest boulder you can imagine up on a mountain, so deeply that it cannot escape. And then bow, honor and walk back down the mountain leaving it behind. One can play these sorts of images and visualizations endlessly and be very inventive and creative. You don't have to respond against the pain in a combative warlike mode."

p.110 "The future of the New Medicine,' will not only include our thoughts and emotions, but will also have a place for something that we have yet to take more seriously‹the spiritual dimension of healthŠSpirituality and consciousness are the basic starting point for everything else. Almost all wisdom traditions, almost all esoteric expressions of the great religions honor this perspective, that the fundamental ground of all being is spirit and one of the ways of expressing this is that we must live our life from the inside out‹beginning with this understanding."

p. 89, Barbara Brennan
"In converting our pain, it is important to surrender to the truth of what really was and what is right now. And experience that. It doesn't mean that you will surrender to and then be in pain forever. It means softening the pain, and then you are carried by that pain into your soft, loving nature. And your compassion and understanding flows up from within you automatically. The pain in our life is to teach us a better way to create our life. It is also to get our attention."

p. 93-4, Kahu O Te Range
"... pain as the awareness of an ending of an understanding. It's like we have to work our way through what it is that caused the pain, and acknowledge it, encompass, feel it, cry with it, laugh with it, and then release it."

p.98, Reverend Michael Beckwith
"There are moments in meditation where you have a brilliant insight, a revelation, a healing, or perhaps forgiveness. You see things differently and begin to live from that new level. But then the process begins again... You pass through the different stages and move to the other side, which is joyful. Then you begin to understand the process. After a while, you can hold it all in joy, even when you are in pain."

p. 101-2, Butch Artichoker
"... one person wants to deal with the emotional cause of the illness and the other person is afraid to deal with the emotional cause. I've learned over a long period of time that when it comes to healing there is an emotional basis to the illness or to the condition. And when people fail to look into and try to heal the emotional cause, it is very difficult to heal the effect, the physical condition."

Chapter Six, Rediscovering Our Creative Selves

p. 112, Barbara Altemus
"In writing I joined together once again with the many parts of who I am that I had lost touch with. I was so accustomed to seeing myself as others perceive me, but now I was getting to know myself from the inside out. My perceptions were shifting, and as I cleared the top layers of hurt and pain I began to gain a greater insight into the deeper meaning behind many life experiences. I was beginning to feel a newfound love for myself and for life."

p. 121 Isabel Allende
"I think that I moved through the different forms of pain writing. Writing is what has allowed me to move. And what is the writing? The writing is not the material thing of putting words on a piece of paper. It is the hours you spend alone. It's a journey inside, inside yourself to start with. And even if you're creating fiction,, you're creating something that has nothing to do with your own life. It's the time you spend alone in silence listening to voices, to stories that I think are there in the air."

Chapter Seven, Renewal After the Loss of a Loved One

p. 126, Barbara Altemus
"A profound lesson I learned during the passing of my mother was how important it is to be authentic and share all that is in your heart with the ones you love... My fear kept me from showing her all my love in her time of need. She and I shared our love on so many occasions, yet this was the most fitting. I also could not bring myself to tell her good-bye and to talk about her leaving. Neither could she, and we lived in denial-each secretly fearing how we would cope with the loss."

p. 127-8,
"After my mother made her transition, I made the conscious decision that no one would ever understand my pain and that I would have to wade through my sorrow alone. I felt very estranged from my brother and sister, and it seemed that all of the most unhealthy patterns in our family were coming up for healing. There was a lot of judgment of one another and a great sense of separation. I did not have the tools and the understanding of how to be vulnerable with the ones I cherish and love. I also did not know how to fully grieve and move through the mourning period of a loved one with the understanding that death is a natural part of the cycle of life.

p. 128-9, Joan Borysenko
"... revelations about the perfection of my life with my mother, about how we had learned from one another and the complete circularity of it, of her giving me birth physically and then my giving her soul birth again to the other side, and my being reborn in the processŠ."

p. 130, Goldie Hawn
"It was as if I had no one else to dance for. She was the one that I was dancing for. She was the one who I was being what I am for because I wanted to please my mother. I wanted her to be proud. I took pride in that. And when that was taken away, I didn't even know why I was doing what I was doing...

p. 133, Barbara Altemus
"As human beings it is natural to want to feel connected to one another. But out of fear and ignorance, we build walls and create separation. When we move through our pain and take down the walls, we are able to feel connected and supported, which is so necessary when we need to heal from the loss of a loved one."

p. 139, Goldie Hawn
"Tears are healing, and they are healing on a metaphysical level, and they're also healing on a physical level because tears are natural antibiotics. Also, tests have been done and results have been proven that tears strengthen the immune system. As does laughter. They're very closely related. It's the connection you have to your heart center... If you cannot cry, there is a cap on your level of joy appreciation."

p. 149, Kahu O Te Range
"If we only experienced joy and no pain, then life is one-dimensional. So pain is a part of life, pain is part of the process of learning and understanding. We have to view it in a very, very positive sense. That pain is basically a way of bridging. When I say pain is awareness of an understanding, I really mean that."

Chapter Eight, Reconnecting After Losing a Homeland
p. 149, Barbara Altemus
"The consciousness of millions of Americans shifted dramatically on September 11, 2001, after the tragic attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Suddenly the sacredness of preserving one's homeland became paramount in people's minds and hearts. Many of those who had not previously felt agony of the people across the globe, or for that matter people on their own country, afflicted with violence and oppression, were more sensitive to what millions of people on our planet endure day in and day out."

p. 151-2, Barbara Altemus about Chief Arvol Looking Horse
... "a major point of transformation in his own healing came about in 1990, during a ceremony called Mending the Sacred Hoop that was for the more than 300 women, children, and elders who were massacred at Wounded Knee in 1890, as well as for the surviving families, who have been hurt in every way possible by this desecration of their relatives and way of life." (Arvol) "Until we went through this ceremony we were not aware of the level of pain,, anger, hatred, and jealousy that we were carrying, all the things that do not belong in the would take four years ... We rode on horseback like our ancestors, oftentimes at temperatures below forty degrees... After the ceremony, I felt like I let go of the pain. I felt like I was part of the hoop that was mending. I found peace within myself."

p. 157, Barbara Altemus
"Perhaps the greatest healing is found in the giving and sharing of oneself."

p. 162-3, Isabel Allende
"I learned that the people who suffered the most, the people who had been tortured who had lost children to torture,whose members of their families had disappeared, people who had seen the mutilated bodies of their relatives by torture were less angry than I was. They never spoke of revenge, they never said I want to torture the torturer. I want to rape the rapist. I want to kill the killer. They wanted to understand. They wanted to bury their dead. They were not looking for revenge, because in a way revenge is not healing. They were doing what needed to be done, and that was to understand where the horror came from."

"We could find a way of having peace in the world, if we could by this accumulated notion of pain, get-together and say we know what war is and we know what war does. We have to avoid it. We've learned this but we don't apply this understanding as a collective. Perhaps that is why we continue to walk in circles and we keep stumbling on the same stones."

p. 165-6, Lenny Foster
"Our homeland is more than merely a place where we are born. It encompasses all aspects of life woven into the spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, cultural, and economic life of our people. When people are forced off their homeland, they become disconnected and fragmented."

Chapter Nine, Re-creating Community

p. 168, Barbara Altemus
As a young person, I often felt that I did not belong. I was not until I was twenty-seven and sitting in a Native American sweat lodge, in a circle facing the glistening rocks, burning cedar, sage, and sweetgrass, that I truly felt at home. I was one with the elements huddled close to others in total darkness, listening to the prayers, song, drum and the voice coming from my heart. For the first time I felt as if I were with other people who shared my concerns, visions, and pain. Together we experienced a deep reverence and love for Mother Earth and for all of natural creation. I felt what it meant to be part of a community. Honoring and blessing these sacred gifts in ourselves and one another benefits the whole community. And when healthy communities make up the world, we are re-creating the world.

p. 186, Gerry Jampolsky
"When I started the Center for Attitudinal Healing, I didn't realize I was also trying to heal myself and I didn't realize that I was creating a community, with an extended family. Today the Center is located in Sausalito, California and there are about 150 additional centers or groups in approximately thirty counties throughout the world. With this large community we have an international meeting with 300-500 people who attend every other year. People with catastrophic illnesses have been brought together, and children who are suffering loss. But half of the work is helping people who just want to incorporate attitudinal healing in their own lives. We have a community I feel very connected to. We all have the common goal of having peace of mind. So it's a community that's always there to help other people, and to reach out to each other and feel our inner connection. In a sense, what we're doing is healing the illusion that we are separate."

p. 191, DeePak Chopra
"I come from a strong family structure and support family in the form of cousins, uncles, aunts, and then extended family. I always look at my patients as my extended family. I have never felt that there was a lack of community. It just kept growing larger and larger."

"Some people come to the Chopra Center for Well being because they're in pain and suffering. A lot of people come because they're actually doing extremely well and they're seeking to extend their intuition and creativity and vision and their connection with the sacred. I think in fact, the majority of people who come here are not in pain, they are actually in transformation to higher and expanded states of consciousnessŠ.

p. 192, "There is much thought as to why we are not more conscious as a community of human beings on the planet. The fact is today we have the most evolved society that has ever existed. And it hasn't evolved because we are praying more or meditating more. The only reason it's evolved is we have technology, and science. And technology and science have made us aware of the great possibilities in the human potential.

When Christ lived, his total area of influence was thirty miles. When Buddha lived his total area of influence was a few hundred miles. Today with the kind of knowledge the Buddha and Christ gave us, you can go to any bookstore and find 200 books on the subject. And not only is it available, it's available soon through global television. So today we have the ability to bring about a global transformation as it never happened before, and that can only happen if a critical mass of people recognize that pain and suffering is not necessary."