I’ve recently (2022) finished re-reading Joan Tollifson’s “Awake in the Heartland” and think it’s a really good book, both about the non-dual and about her engagements (chosen or otherwise) with the world of duality.
That might sound high-minded, but isn’t intended to be: I just think that she manages to weave the grit of normal day-to-day life experiences with the tenets and potential openings possible in a non-dual practice – in a way that is refreshing compared with the approach of some other non-dual teachers.
Joan is happy to talk about her spiritual practice and her struggles with it, about non-dual philosophies, and about her continual fight with finger biting (for example). For her, it’s all part of what’s arising, and nothing is to be edited out – either of the highs or the lows of life. That’s what I mean by her “engagements”.
I see from her Facebook page that she’s just re-released the book (with another publisher) and I recommend it. And the cover is great (it hasn’t changed since the original publication) … gritty Chicago with a photo she took herself: what a “Heartland”!
(See the photo on Amazon.)
She was recently interviewed by Hale Dwoskin for his “Letting Go & The Greatest Secret” video podcast and you can see this video here:
Joan Tollifson – The Sweetness of Being.
I got the same vibe from the video as I’ve got from the book: here is someone with experience and energy engaged with what it is to tackle the challenges of a life lived in Awareness and Presence.
Also, as a Gestaltist, I really like her reference in the video to the chair work she did with a Gestalt practitioner around her alcohol issues. She’s weaving again: psychotherapy meets non-dual, all with that energy of engagement.
And I liked her comment that even when we are established in Presence, the little “me” (ego) is still somewhere in the wings (or maybe the shadows) ready to show itself, to come in and spoil the show…