SWIMMING WITH ELEPHANTS by Sarah Bamford  Seidelmann


My Unexpected Pilgrimage from Physician to Healer
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How the author “left medicine to pursue a radically different path,” as she embarked on “the messy process of finding my connection to the Divine and learning to trust its guidance.”

Fans of Seidelmann’s previous work (Born to Freak: A Salty Primer for Irrepressible Humans, 2012, etc.) will surely enjoy this chronicle of the author’s chaotic transformation from a fourth-generation physician to a shamanic healer and life coach. The author details her travels around the globe, including sojourns to South Africa, India, and the California desert, searching for her inner shaman. After one shamanic workshop, the author returned home intent on decluttering her house. “As I let go of more and more layers,” she writes, “I felt better and better. I found that I could appreciate and engage with the things that remained. Thank you, wonderful salad bowl! Thank you, beloved grey sweater!” This book will appeal most to readers who can relate to those sentiments or have strong feelings about spirit animals, ghosts, disembodied spirits, and palo santo incense. For others, the narrative will be a slog, as the author’s constant inner turmoil and self-reflection become tiresome (“I frequently thought to myself: What have I done?”) and offer few lasting insights for those not undergoing similar experiences. Seidelmann wasn’t the only member of the family seeking a more meaningful life. Her husband, also a physician, began his own journey, and during his vision quest he “focuse[d] on awakening a potential primal energy lying coiled like a serpent at the base of his spine.” The author’s prose is serviceable, but depending on each reader’s tolerance for New Age spiritualism, the narrative will either produce maddening impatience or intense curiosity.

A feel-good story for like-minded readers who also seek “the love and compassion of the Universe.”

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-57324-701-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Conari Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2017