When Trauma Leads to Transformation
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Product Details

  • Author: Steve Taylor
  • Product Code: 87671
  • ISBN: 978-1-60868-767-1
  • Pages: 264
  • 1 Paperback / softback
  • Size: 6.00 x 9.00


A compelling investigation of how intense psychological suffering can lead to a dramatic shift into a new, expansive identity

Why do some people who experience the worst that life has to offer respond not by breaking down but by shifting up, into a higher-functioning, awakened state, like phoenixes rising from the ashes? And perhaps more importantly, how can we emulate their transformations? Over many years of observing and studying the phenomenon of life-changing awakening through extreme suffering, Steve Taylor coined the term “transformation through turmoil.” He calls these people “shifters” and here shares dozens of their amazing stories. In addition, Taylor uncovers the psychological processes that explain these miraculous rebirths after years of struggle or devastating loss, addiction, or imprisonment. He highlights a number of lessons and guidelines that the shifters offer us. In Extraordinary Awakenings, readers will find not only riveting stories of transformation that show the amazing resilience of the human spirit, but also hope and guidance to call on during their own struggles, together with inspiration and profound food for thought.


Extraordinary Awakenings is both extraordinary and ordinary: extraordinary because it describes the sudden lifting of suffering and the deliverance into a more luminous, joyful existence; ordinary because every human being is capable of being what Steve Taylor calls a ‘shifter.’ We can all shift our consciousness. The stories in this book inspired me to continually wake myself up and contribute to a better, kinder, and more peaceful world.”
— Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of Omega Institute and author of the New York Times bestseller Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

“Fascinating and inspiring. Offering more than just a compelling account of traumatic circumstances leading to unexpected spiritual awakenings, Steve Taylor also explores their common features and how they can facilitate our own awakening — something we all can benefit from.”
— Peter Russell, author of Letting Go of Nothing and From Science to God

“Mind-blowing. A gripping combination of moving personal stories and groundbreaking psychological research, this inspiring book will help you find the gifts in life’s greatest challenges. By connecting the study of personal transformation with even bigger questions about our destiny as a species, Steve Taylor makes the leap from psychologist to visionary.”
— Matthew Green, author of Aftershock: Fighting War, Surviving Trauma and Finding Peace

“Steve Taylor’s brilliant new book introduces us to individuals who have experienced traumas and crises and have come out the other end deeply transformed and spiritually awakened. What I love most about this book is how clearly he outlines the process underlying these positive transformations. This can help us all with the crises and traumas of our own lives. Such a wonderful book!”
— Phil Borges, photographer and filmmaker, codirector of Crazywise

“A powerful and inspiring book that shows that the most difficult moments of life can also be the most transformational. The profoundly moving stories show how resilient human beings can become and how much potential lies inside us.”
— Scott Barry Kaufman, founder and director of the Center for the Science of Human Potential and author of Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization

“In crystal-clear prose, Steve Taylor offers practical wisdom on how to transform and transcend life’s inevitable turmoil. Taylor is a remarkable guide — sure-footed and calm — through the startling transformations that individuals sometimes undergo when facing death (their own or someone else’s), being challenged by addictions, or experiencing the loss of what seems central to their identity. Taylor shows that when the ego attachments we take for granted are irretrievably broken, they can be replaced by a more encompassing and far more fulfilling sense of self, bringing with it tranquility and transcendence. As with his previous books, Extraordinary Awakenings explores terrain we all tend to walk but not fully recognize, and his gentle, insistent voice draws out the meaning. There is much to learn here, much to awaken to and embrace in order to let go of habits, preconceptions, and fears and become our highest selves.”
— Michael Jawer, author of Sensitive Soul

“Steve Taylor takes a giant step by revealing how traumatic situations and gritty life challenges can catalyze profound awakening experiences. No longer can these be seen as delusions or throw-away stress responses; instead, they clearly belong in the arena of positive life-transformative episodes that leave the experiencer profoundly changed.”
— Emma Bragdon, PhD, author of A Sourcebook for Helping People in Spiritual Emergency and The Call of Spiritual Emergency

“A moving book that is right for our times. Some people awaken through a blissful encounter with nature or a mystical experience induced by a psychedelic substance. But others awaken through addiction, imprisonment, life-threatening illness, depression, and other dark nights of the soul. Steve Taylor shows that awakening is always an option — even during dire times — and his book can serve as a life raft for those who are caught in challenging circumstances.”
— David Lukoff, founder and director of the Spiritual Competency Academy