Monday, April 14, 2014


When asked to describe the most important factor in health and recovering from illness, Dr. Judith Orloff provided a one-word answer: surrender. While it is not the recommendation most people would expect to hear from a physician, it is not too surprising, considering her skill set—board-certified psychiatrist, assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA, and intuitive healer.

In The Ecstasy of Surrender, Dr. Orloff challenges old beliefs about health, sex, aging, beauty, and money. Divided into twelve chapters, the book contains quizzes, meditations, and practical strategies designed to help the reader “flow with life rather than fighting it or pushing so hard you sabotage yourself.” Dr. Orloff shares stories from her own life and that of her patients clearly demonstrating the strength and power that comes from letting go of obsessive and destructive relationships.

Her advice is spot on, especially in the chapter entitled “The Fifth Surrender: Cultivating Impeccable Communication." In addition to providing insight on finding a soul mate, she discusses boundary setting and effective communication with anger addicts, narcissists, passive aggressive personalities, guilt trippers, and gossips.

Having experienced several personal and family health challenges, I reread the last three Surrenders several times. I was particularly interested in Dr. Orloff’s approach to pain and suffering. She starts by distinguishing between the two states: “Pain consists of the uncomfortable physiological sensations” while suffering is “your thoughts and emotional reactions to the sensations. And she stresses the following fact: “Suffering is amplified by the scary stories you tell yourself about pain.” While the pain will not necessarily disappear, harmonizing with it can dissipate the fear and anxiety.

An excellent reference book chock full of wisdom and humour.

After retiring from a 31-year teaching career, Joanne Guidoccio launched a second act as a writer. Her articles, book reviews and short stories have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online. In September 2013, Soul Mate Publishing released her debut novel, Between Land and Sea, as an ebook on Amazon. You can visit her website at


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