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A contributor to

What's Awakening Really Like?

 twenty ordinary people talk about life beyond the spiritual search


Edited by Marianne Broug

What’s awakening really like in a world of supermarkets, messy relationships, work and global challenges?

So often our only accounts of life after awakening come from spiritual teachers or gurus. This book shines an intimate light into the lives of 20 ordinary people from all over the world who have awoken to their True Nature. They are musicians, office workers, comedians, mail carriers, mentors, students, artists and writers. They share their reflections on life, death, spiritual teachers, meditation, emotions, motivation, therapy, sex, humor, money, creativity, God, parenting, suffering and more.

Are you curious about enlightenment and would you like to know more?

Do you think enlightenment is unobtainable or only for the chosen few?

Have you recently awoken to your True Nature and now feel disoriented or alone?

Would you welcome some company and context as you walk your first steps on this new terrain?

If you want to know what life after the end of the spiritual search is really like, then read What’s Awakening Really Like?


“While the experience of living as vastness is certainly extraordinary, it is also simply extra ordinary. It is truly a waking up to something supremely basic and absolutely fundamental. This shift is open to everyone, including those who may never desire to don the mantle of spiritual teacher. This book is a wonderful window into just those people, an anthropological account of the Boundless as it wends its way through the nooks and crannies of the everyday. I invite you to read this book and see if it tunes you into the bread crumbs of that which has cleverly been hidden everywhere in plain sight.”

Ishtar Howell, Ishaya monk, gardener and meditation teacher,

“When your journey to spiritual awakening has taken you to a place you don't know, read this book. You are not alone in this. In the book, you will find good company in the open, honest, and sometimes disillusioning reports about what happens when parts or the whole idea of a self falls away. A book that is very needed to give some orientation about what happens on the way to awakening and how to deal with it.”

Dr Christiane Michelberger, Finding Awakening,

“A profound offering from everyday people who share their individual experiences of spiritual awakening. This book is a beautiful gift to those on the awakening path; one can often feel alone and misunderstood on the journey back home.”

Kimberlie, Conscious Living Jewel,

“This book is a treasure in the way it shows awakening is possible for everyone. It is a book written by people in everyday walks of life. It offers a window into experiences of Transcendence and the journey to Immanence, as True Nature reveals itself appearing in the world as everyone and everything. This book’s arrival is poignant, as the therapeutic inner journey, which so many people find themselves now on, can lead to awakening. These stories are a jewel of insight and lived experience for those unfolding beyond their history, conditioning, identity and outgrowing the cocoon of egoic life.”

Elica Lorde-Syzygy, Transpersonal Psychotherapist,

"Who Counts the Years," published in

You Look Good for Your Age: An Anthology

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Edited by Rona Altrows

University of Alberta

“I returned to the same respiratory therapist for my annual checkup. I told her that her words to me, ‘You look good for your age,’ had inspired a book. ‘Wow!’ she said. ‘You wrote a whole book about that?’ ‘Twenty-nine kick-ass writers wrote it,’ I said. She gave me a thumbs up.” From the Preface.


This is a book about women and ageism. There are twenty-nine contributing writers, ranging in age from their forties to their nineties. Through essays, short stories, and poetry, they share their distinct opinions, impressions, and speculations on aging and ageism and their own growth as people. In these thoughtful, fierce, and funny works, the writers show their belief in women and the aging process.


“Vulnerability and honesty are found in these pages, and raw power too. Readers will cheer these brave writers on as they refuse to allow stereotypes to smother their voice and experience.”

Carissa Halton, author of Little Yellow House

“Just as aging women can be invisible in our society, they're often invisible to our cultural curators. This collection brilliantly addresses that blind spot, with wisdom, humour, and fine writing.”

Angie Abdou, author of This One Wild Life

Collection springs from reflections on offhand remark

Rona Altrows wanted to hear from women in their fifth to tenth decades of life.

For Altrows, her encounter with the titular phrase came while being fitted for a CPAP device after an apnea diagnosis. The respiratory therapist when checking Altrows’s birthdate on her medical chart remarked, “You look good for your age.”

“She meant it as a compliment,” says Altrows, “but inwardly, I bristled. In the following days and weeks I couldn’t stop thinking about it – what was stated and implied by those words.”

Altrows continues, “Once the overthinking reached the point that I would burst if I did not do something, I wrote about it. And then I realized that I wanted to hear the voices of other people who identified as female. That is how the idea for the anthology came up. When I approached prospective contributors, I would tell them the title and the theme, but what they wrote, as long as it honoured and explored that theme, was entirely up to them.”

For this book to be true to the principles of equity Altrows believes in, she approached writers of various ethnicities, and also ensured she could feature the voices of women in their fifth to tenth decades. “Because ageism starts being thrown women’s way when they are in their forties,” Altrows observes. Contributors include Sharon Butala, Joy Kogawa, Laurie MacFayden, Moni Brar, Joan Crate, Aritha van Herk, and Madelaine Shaw-Wong.

 “For this anthology, I decided to go with personal invitations to submit. In most cases I invited writers – some well-known and others not yet well-known, but I hope they will be, starting now – whose work I knew and loved. Nobody had an automatic in, though. If a piece did not, in my opinion, resonate with the theme, I would have to say no, and I did.”

The book’s section titles are Insight, Elders, Body, Love, Timelines, and Enough!, with pieces exploring meditation, caring for aging parents, the death of friends, medical issues, and intimate body care rituals, among much more.

“I found myself constantly surprised, not so much by the themes, but by the multitude of inventive ways in which contributors expressed themselves,” says Altrows.

She anticipates a wide readership of people who like to read, think, and feel. “I do not say that facetiously. We are all aging, so why should the book be of interest to only specific demographics, when it is full of moving, stimulating, thought-inspiring work? What reader wants to miss out on that?”

Altrows enjoyed working with the people at the University of Alberta Press. “They are professional and kind,” she says.

“And I want to thank my contributors, without whom there would be no book. They are very much my co-creators for this project.”

Margaret Anne Fehr, Prairie books NOW, Issue 78, Spring/Summer 2021

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