When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living


When you're Falling, Dive book cover.“A guide to keeping the psyche intact when you’re being spun on life’s roulette wheel.”                       –O Magazine

Do survivors of life’s greatest trials possess a secret knowledge? Why do some people blossom through adversity while others fall apart? What mysterious power gets us back on our feet after we’ve been knocked down? The answer: viriditas, the power of drawing passion, beauty, and wisdom from the unlikeliest places.

In When You’re Falling, Dive, the author examines this remarkable phenomenon. Seeking advice from well-known survivors such as Joan Didion, Elie Wiesel and Isabel Allende, as well as philosophical experts like Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Sogyal Rinpoche, he brings 25 years of personal experience to the paradoxical question of how disaster can be used to awaken and transform us.

From a Sudanese boy slave kidnapped at the age of seven, to a Tibetan nun imprisoned by Chinese militia, to the heroic women of Calama, Chile, who continued digging for their “disappeared” relatives following Pinochet’s Caravan of Death, Matousek sifts through extraordinary testimonials – as well as recent breakthroughs in neuroscience – to demonstrate that we are, in fact, hardwired to evolve and adapt when faced with the impossible. It is humbling yet inspiring to be reminded that in our frailty rests the key to our greatest strength.

Praise for When You’re Falling, Dive

“Filled with remarkable stories, illuminating insights and enduring lessons this gorgeously written book makes the impossible, transformational. Matousek has found a way to live by listening, by going to the darkest and most beautiful places, and gratefully he takes us with him.
-Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and Insecure at Last

“Reading Mark Matousek’s When You’re Falling, Dive is like discovering a great artist’s lost sketchbook. It is full of little wonders that change the way you see things. Bringing his journalist’s eye to some of today’s most provocative thinkers, Matousek brings us inside their minds, offering fresh counsel for perennial, but newly urgent, questions.”
-Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Thoughts Without a Thinker and Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart

When You’re Falling, Dive reveals a secret only known to the few who have pushed through greatest adversity to find life’s light on the other site. Matousek makes this wisdom available to us all. This will be his defining work, both as a man and as a writer. A masterpiece.”
-Maria Housden, author of Hannah’s Gift and Unraveled

“Like Dante’s Inferno, Matousek’s book shows us the tortures of hell – physical, psychological, political – and a host of real people who have inhabited that fiery pit and risen triumphantly from it. Matousek is a trustworthy guide, one who himself has struggled with angel-demons, one who offers a life-affirming gift to his readers. Voices and visions flutter from these pages to become part of the air we breathe, and part of us.”
-Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance

“Beautiful and true.”
-Rebecca Walker, author of Babylove

“Thank god that someone has finally written a spiritual book with an edge. In this boisterous collection of true stories, Mark Matousek takes us from Himalayan peaks to a sit-down with Andy Warhol, from a homeless shelter to Joan Didion’s Upper East Side apartment. Matousek knows everyone, tells all, and writes sentences that reverb like zen koans. This book is a blessed departure from other ‘survivor memoirs.’ Matousek comes off as the most fascinating – and wise – cocktail-party raconteur you’ve ever met.”
-Pagan Kennedy, author of The First Man Made Man and Black Livingstone

When You’re Falling, Dive is a brave and insightful exploration of the transformative power of tragedy. With sensitivity, grace, wit, and candor Mark Matousek tracks his own complex life path and that of others, providing sumptuous evidence that our moments of deepest despair are opportunities to experience enduring grace, joy, awe, and healing. What is most refreshing of all is that he does so without indulging in the vapid clichés of pop culture psychiatry, preferring instead to offer up the vital, fascinating testimonies of people whose stories readers will be hard pressed to forget.”
-Connie May Fowler, author of The Problem with Murmur Lee and When Katie Wakes