Publisher Rodale, June 2006
Matt Sanford’s life and body were irrevocably changed at age thirteen on a snowy Iowa road. On that day, his family’s car skidded off an overpass, killing Matt’s father and sister and leaving him paralyzed from the chest down and confined to a wheelchair. His mother and brother escaped from the accident unharmed but were left to pick up the pieces of their decimated family.
This pivotal event set Matt off on a lifelong journey, from his intensive care experiences at the Mayo Clinic to becoming a paralyzed yoga teacher and founder of a non-profit. Forced to explore what it truly means to live in a body, he emerges with an entirely new view of being a “whole” person.
WAKING is a chronicle of that process. By turns agonizingly personal, philosophical, and heartbreakingly honest, this groundbreaking memoir takes the reader inside the body, heart and mind of a boy whose world has been shattered. The author allows us to follow with him as he rebuilds from the ground up, searching for “healing stories” to help him reconnect his mind and his body. To do so, he must reject much of what traditional medicine tells him and instead turn to yoga as a centerpiece of his daily practice. The author finds not only a better life, but meaning and purpose in the mysterious distance that we all experience between mind and body
In searingly candid, frequently poetic language, Sanford pulls back the curtain on what it means to survive devastating trauma, from returning to a broken life to the uncertainty of finding sexual intimacy with a paralyzed body. But first and foremost the author offers a powerful message about the endurance of the human spirit, and of the body that houses it.
“From a hard-won understanding of how the body has intelligence and is an aspect of the soul, the author presents us with a new revitalizing vision of what is to be human.”
— Susan Griffin, author of Woman and Nature
“This is a riveting, heartbreaking, heart-opening saga… His insights are seeds that aquire power and shape over time – months after first reading t, I find myself appreciating his writing and the depth of his thinking more and more.”
— Nina Utne, Editor-in-Chief, Utne Magazine
“Matthew Sanford’s groundbreaking memoir advances a startling premise: Within an expanded consciousness of the mind/body connection lies hope for humankind.”
— Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling