Judith Halbreich is the author of “The Audacity to be Divine: A Soul’s Journey Towards Illumination.” She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and psychotherapist with an extensive, successful executive career in Social Services, Clinical Research, and mental Health. She is the founder and CEO of Home of Champions (HOC), a unique nonprofit program that exists to inspire leaders emerging from the foster care system to become champions of their best selves. When Judith is not devoting her time to HOC, you can find her making a delicious tagine and dancing salsa in her living room.
Q: What is the strongest, most compelling message of your book?
A: The book describes the spiritual awakening of a divorced woman who experienced hardships which led her to a spiritual transformation with a path to a higher stage of consciousness and soul awareness. How we all struggle to get out of the cocoon and break through the chrysalis to become a butterfly. Through Mary’s life, the book offers a glimpse of the extraordinary life that awaits us as the soul awakens and a new life unfolds.
Q: What is the book about?
A: The story tells how a working-class daughter of Italian immigrants, who idolized her grandmother, had to deal with an alcoholic father, childlike mother, and unfaithful husband. After a series of setbacks and considerable losses, Mary loses her sense of God, which had otherwise been a kind of cultural piety based on a grandmother’s commitment to service in the community. Mary, however, begins the process of rediscovering her faith through centering prayer and the Christian meditative tradition in general. This leads her, ultimately, to what will be the defining work of her life: the foundation of Chrysalis House as an intentional community committed to teaching others centering prayer and the Christian meditative tradition. Ultimately, Mary, who will be foundational to Contemplative Outreach, moves at the very end of her life beyond Contemplative Outreach and institutionalism itself.
Q: What inspired you to write the book
A: During the funeral my mother’s friend, Al Choy, whispered in my ear, “you really ought to write a book about her.” Thomas Keating said, “ Yes, you have all the material you need.” I watched my mother’s metamorphosis as a struggling single mother into a God realized-saint and spiritual leader intimately. It is true that we can all realize our connection to the divine through spiritual practices. I believe my mother’s story is so important for all of us especially during these trying times.
Q: How can we apply the message of the book to our everyday life?/ Why is the book so timely right now given our current climate?
A: The times we now live in have made living even more difficult with the increased anxiety around and in us. One wonders if contact with the Divine or even calmness is even possible? It is with a spiritual practice that connects us with our inheritance and the divine connection. It gives us the message for everyday life that we, too can rise about the crisis and anxiety once we let go and surrender to God and have a spiritual practice.
“The Audacity To Be Divine” is a groundbreaking, compelling and inspirational book about the arduous journey towards transformation and illumination.
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