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Loving and Leaving the Good Life (Good Life…

Loving and Leaving the Good Life (Good Life Series) (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Helen Nearing (Author)

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1211156,987 (3.93)1
Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of Living the Good Life and many other bestselling books, lived together for 53 years until Scott's death at age 100. Loving and Leaving the Good Life is Helen's testimonial to their life together and to what they stood for: self-sufficiency, generosity, social justice, and peace. In 1932, after deciding it would be better to be poor in the country than in the city, Helen and Scott moved from New York Ciy to Vermont. Here they created their legendary homestead which they described in Living the Good Life: How to Live Simply and Sanely in a Troubled World, a book that has sold 250,000 copies and inspired thousands of young people to move back to the land. The Nearings moved to Maine in 1953, where they continued their hard physical work as homesteaders and their intense intellectual work promoting social justice. Thirty years later, as Scott approached his 100th birthday, he decided it was time to prepare for his death. He stopped eating, and six weeks later Helen held him and said goodbye. Loving and Leaving the Good Life is a vivid self-portrait of an independent, committed and gifted woman. It is also an eloquent statement of what it means to grow old and to face death quietly, peacefully, and in control. At 88, Helen seems content to be nearing the end of her good life. As she puts it, "To have partaken of and to have given love is the greatest of life's rewards. There seems never an end to the loving that goes on forever and ever. Loving and leaving are part of living." Helen's death in 1995 at the age of 92 marks the end of an era. Yet as Helen writes in her remarkable memoir, "When one door closes, another opens." As we search for a new understanding of the relationships between death and life, this book provides profound insights into the question of how we age and die.… (more)
Title:Loving and Leaving the Good Life (Good Life Series)
Authors:Helen Nearing (Author)
Info:Chelsea Green Publishing (1993), Edition: Reprint, 224 pages
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Loving and Leaving the Good Life by Helen Nearing (1992)



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I borrowed this book by and about the iconic sustainable lifestyle promoters, Helen and Scott Nearing, because I wanted to further my thinking about death and a good way to die. This book was a disappointment for my purpose, since only the last chapter really dealt with Scott's approach to his fading strength and death at age 100. "he had gone when he wished. His death had illuminated his life...We don't have to go through the horror of a long decay in a nursing home. If we are at home and have made our wishes known, we can stop eating. It is as simple as that" (p. 187)
During my years as a homesteader they were an inspiration, with their commitment to daily manual labor to meet their needs thru gardening, wood heat, building with stone, and making maple syrup. Most of this book is Helen's review of her early life, her relationship with Scott, and Scott's activities.
Many authors quote other writers, but in this book the quotations were intrusive and seemed to be used as a replacement for Helen saying what she felt or observed herself. In addition to Scott's example of conscious letting go of life and moving on, I appreciated his response to an inquiry about his views of God (pp158-9), Helen's view on meditation (p. 164), and Scott's chart comparing an emancipated lifestyle with an exploitive one (p. 143-4). The photos in the center are wonderful. ( )
  juniperSun | Feb 13, 2014 |
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There is no thing that dying, dies forever:
Nothing is so forespent
But it may somehow finally recapture
That first content.
Wrought of the frail and protoplasmic splendor
Of element.
There is no song, once sung, made still forever:
Never such husk profound
But somewhere in the fibers of creation
Under the ground
And over the light of stars in the summer heavens
Makes cosmic sound.
There is no love, once told, that dies completely:
Never such love has grown
But scatters seed producing in its likeness
From zone to zone:
Shaping the destiny of men and angels
In worlds unknown.
---poet unknown
How will you manage
To cross alone
The autumn mountain
Which was so hard to get across
Even when we went the two of us together?
---Chinese, 7th Century
When the sun rises, I go to work;
When the sun goes down, I take my rest;
I dig the well from which I drink,
I farm the soil that yields my food.
I share the creation, Kings can do no more.
---Chinese, 2500 BC
To withdraw gracefully from the public stage and by securing a season of virtuous repose after a life of action--to place a kind of sacred interval between this world and the next, is a piece of practical wisdom which I fear is in few hands.
---Ely Bates "Rural Philosophy" 1907
It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. ---James Thurber
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When one door closes, another opens...into another room, another space, other happenings.
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