Healing Our Divided Planet by Serafin Talisayon, 212 pages, Balboa Press, October 12th, 2016, Genre: Biographies and Memoirs. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
by Leigh Holland
Healing Our Divided Planet is a memoir but unlike many other memoirs, does not focus on telling the sequential linear story of the author’s life. Instead, this work focuses on passing down wisdom from the author to his own children, grandchildren, and future generations of mankind.
The book follows a straightforward format. After advising the reader of the reasons for recording the memoir and the purpose the author hopes it will be used for, each section is broken into three parts. First, a story from an important period in the author’s life is told to us. Second, the author lets the reader know what lessons he learned from this story. And third, the author gives suggestions for how the reader can perform proposed exercises to heal themselves and the world around them.
Although this work is classified as a memoir, I would also consider it a self-help book. However, it’s not teaching us how to not date men who aren’t good for us (although this might be one of the results from reading this book). Healing Our Divided Planet proposes that all human beings today are trapped by the mental fences we, or our ancestors, constructed. These mental fences keep the status quo instead of allowing for positive change. As a result, those who benefit from the status quo continue to reinforce these fences. But what if we, simple ordinary people, could break down these mental constructs that divide us? What if we could start building a better future for all of us, starting at the individual level? This book guides readers in exercise designed to break down these walls and take the steps we need to take towards healing and societal transformation.
My favorite section of the book was “A Story from My Grandmother: The Value of Intangibles”. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the follow up reflection that when we die, we leave behind the tangibles, only taking our intangibles with us. The Suggested Action for this and other stories in this section was to make a Gratitude List and a Forgiveness List. For me, the gratitude list was much easier than the forgiveness list. But once I completed the exercise, I felt I’d accomplished something transformative.
In the Kindle edition, I had difficulty enlarging the diagrams and charts presented in the book to better read them. Naturally, I did not always agree with Dr. Talisayon’s conclusions drawn from his memoirs. However, I don’t think it was necessary that I agree with him, only that I consider what he had to say and how it could assist me in leading a more open and loving life. I’d recommend this book to anyone seeking to view the world through a different lens.
The Kindle edition is currently $3.99 and can be found at Amazon at Healing Our Divided Planet.