Dawna Markova's grandmother bequeathed to her "one of the greatest gifts one person can give to another; she helped me to discover how my life matters." Markova went on to become the best-selling author of I Will Not Die an Unlived Life and spelled out her days in seven decades as a midwife, a teacher, a psychotherapist, researcher, executive advisor, and organizational expert.

Believing that "the discovery of how you live a life you love can be found hidden in the stories you tell about that life," Markova has structured this paperback around the ways her Grandma made challah bread: yeasting, rising, kneading, braiding, baking and sharing." Among the topics Markova covers are open minds, attention, wisdom, freedom, choices, listening, giving and joy.

At the heart of these stories is the quest to find answers to three questions which Quaker teacher Parker Palmer has said loom large in the lives of all of us:

  • "How do I find a way to live a life I can love now?
  • "How do I help make it possible for those who will come after me to do the same?
  • "How do I re-collect the wisdom earned through my own and other's challenges?"

Other questions are included in a final chapter on "Open Questions to Evoke 'Talkstory'." Some of our favorites are: What are you serving? Who and what has steadied you and made you feel safe? What are the conditions that bring out the best in you? How have you related effectively to the things you can't control?

Awakening Wisdom Through Stories of Inspiration, Challenge and Possibility comes across as a special blend of creativity, empowerment, and spirituality. She ends with a blessing:

"May you love the great Life you have been given fiercely and tenderly. May the unique Promise you carry within you rise, be braided, baked, and shared. May it bless our hungry, frightened world."