Burning the Midnight Oil: Illuminating Words for the Long Night's Journey Into Day

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In Burning the Midnight Oil, word-wrangler extraordinaire Phil Cousineau has gathered an eclectic and electric collection of soulful poems and prose from great thinkers throughout the ages. Whether beguiling readers with glorious poetry or consoling them with prayers from fellow restless souls, Cousineau can relieve any insomniac's unease. From St. John of the Cross to Annie Dillard, Beethoven to The Song of Songs, this refreshingly insightful anthology soothes and inspires all who struggle through the dark of the night. These "night thoughts" vividly illustrate Alfred North Whitehead's liberating description of "what we do without solitude" and also evoke Henry David Thoreau's reverie, "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake." The night writers in Cousineau's vesperal collection range from saints, poets, and shamans to astronomers and naturalists, and tells of ancient tales and shining passages from the most brilliant (albeit insomniac) writers of today. These poetic ponderances sing of the falling darkness, revel in dream-time, convey the ache of melancholy, conspire against sleeplessness, vanquish loneliness, contemplate the night sky, rhapsodize on love, and languorously greet the first rays of dawn. Notable night owls include Rabandranath Tagore, Mary Oliver, Manley Hopkins, Jorge Borges and William Blake.
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About the author

PHIL COUSINEAU is a freelance writer, filmmaker, photographer, art and literary tour leader, creativity consultant, flâneur, and nyctophiliac, a lifelong lover of the night. Cousineau has published over thirty books, which have been translated into numerous languages; earned twenty-five documentary film writing credits; and contributed to 50 other books. His previous books include Wordcatcher, which was named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by NPR, and The Painted Word. Currently, he is the host and cowriter of the much-acclaimed television series “Global Spirit,” which plays nationwide on PBS, and worldwide at www.globalspirittv.com. Global Spirit offers insights into some of humankind’s deepest eternal questions, tracing our collective journey in the timeless quest for truth, wisdom and understanding. Each program highlights the trans-cultural, transcendent dimensions of human inquiry, from the ancient or indigenous wisdom traditions to the latest advances in science. Global Spirit offers a glimmer of what's possible. Phil also guest-hosts the radio show New Dimensions. He lives with his family in the land of nighthawks, North Beach, San Francisco. For more information about Cousineau’s books, films, lectures, workshops, writing consultations, and art and literary tours, visit www.philcousineau.net.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Dec 16, 2013
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Pages
244
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ISBN
9781936740772
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Body, Mind & Spirit / Inspiration & Personal Growth
Poetry / Anthologies (multiple authors)
Reference / Quotations
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The complementary and alternative (CAM) health movement is a burgeoning phenomenon in contemporary American culture. Types of healing alternatives to conventional medicine became increasingly popular in the latter quarter of the 20th century and some physicians, hospitals, and government entities have began to acknowledge the fields with validity. While alternatives to conventional medicine have always existed, contemporary interest in CAM may trigger an interest in unconventional forms of energy healing such as Reiki. The purpose of this research study was to investigate if Reiki could reduce episodes of insomnia and improve sleep patterns. Due to the fact that there is a paucity of research on Reiki's effectiveness as an insomnia treatment method, a research study consisting of 15 volunteer subjects (10 females and 5 males at least 21 years old) who suffered from having difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and/or poor quality of sleep. The subjects learned and practiced Reiki techniques for self-healing. To measure the subjects' experiences and responses to Reiki, each subject completed a pre-Reiki and post-Reiki "Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep" questionnaire, a "Sleep Hygiene Analysis" questionnaire, and a "Stress and Anxiety" questionnaire. In addition, the subjects underwent pre and post Reiki interviews and vital signs assessments. The results of this study indicate that Reiki is a beneficial therapy regimen for sleep disturbance because it decreases episodes of insomnia and improves sleep patterns. Reiki also promotes physical/mental calmness due to a healthy, stable parasympathetic nervous system, and Reiki is an alternative technique to decrease episodes insomnia without the use of pharmaceuticals.
In the tradition of Thomas Merton’s spiritual classic The Seven Storey Mountain or Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul, Waking Up to the Dark is a deeply resonant and personal project—a modern gospel that is an investigation of the relationship between darkness and the soul. The darkness Clark Strand is talking about here is literal: the darkness of the nighttime, of a world before electricity, when there was a rhythm to life that followed the sun’s rising and setting.
 
Strand here offers penetrating insight into the spiritual enrichment that can be found when we pull the plug on our billion-watt culture. He argues that the insomnia so many of us experience as “the Hour of the Wolf” is really “the Hour of God”—a wellspring of rest and renewal, and an ancient reservoir of ancestral wisdom and inspiration. And in a powerful yet surprising turn, he shares with us an urgent message for the world, received through a mysterious young woman, about the changes we all know are coming.
 
Waking Up to the Dark is a book for those of us who awaken in the night and don’t know why we can’t get back to sleep, and a book for those of us who have grown uncomfortable in real darkness—which we so rarely experience these days, since our first impulse is always to turn on the light. Most of all, it is a book for those of us who wonder about our souls: When the lights are always on, when there is always noise around us, do our souls have the nourishment they need in which to grow?
 
Praise for Waking Up to the Dark
 
“A celebration of the life-enriching—indeed, indispensable—properties of the night . . . Strand delivers a significant amount of experiential melding to existential thoughtfulness in this book about the sublime and elemental powers of the dark. . . . An exigent, affecting summons to rediscover the night.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This book is small in size and mighty in spirit. It is at once a clarion call and a meditation. Sonorous, deep, soul-stirring, and profoundly comforting, Waking Up to the Dark is a rare book that will be pressed from one hand to the next with the urgent, whispered words: You must read this.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion
 
“In a modern world flooded with artificial light, Clark Strand reminds us what we have left behind in the dark. This beautiful, haunting meditation is filled with surprises and lost knowledge. Read it by candlelight—you will never forget it.”—Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America and One Simple Idea
 
“In this exhilaratingly original work, Clark Strand shows us that the key to enlightenment lies where we don’t want to look. It is hidden in plain sight, but we have to turn the lights off to find it.”—Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart and The Trauma of Everyday Life
 
“Breathtaking and revolutionary, a small masterpiece for a world that has grown uncomfortable with the darkness and a poignant plea to take back the dark as the Hour of God, as the great friend of faith, awakening, and soul nourishment.”—Gail Straub, co-founder of Empowerment Institute and author of Returning to My Mother’s House
 
“Wonder, solitude, quiet, intimacy, the holy—darkness holds these treasures and more. If we want to connect with God, argues Strand in this wise and compassionate book, we will ‘awaken to the dark.’ ”—Paul Bogard, author of The End of Night
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