Gifts in Strange Wrapping Paper

“From the clear center of my heart, there are no edges to my loving you. I’ve heard it said there’s a window that opens from one mind to another, but if there were no wall, what need of installing a window?” – Rumi

The Heart of the Matter
The Heart of the Matter

So begins Chapter 1 of The Heart of the Matter: A Simple Guide to Discovering Gifts in Strange Wrapping Paper by Dr. Darren R. Weissman and Cate Montana, M.A. , a beautiful book in theory but a challenge to work through none the less.

I found it interesting that the authors believe that most aches, pains, diseases and emotional suffering are gifts in strange wrapping paper. They are messages to discovering the truth of who we are. There are some stories and examples given that illustrate how early traumatic incidences can have deep emotional roots in our subconscious.

The theory is to learn that these symptoms are not personal in any way, but rather spiritual in every way; they are wake- up calls to alert us to evolve to our fullest potential.

Do I agree with this? Tentatively, yes. I have to say that I think many illnesses are stress related and triggered by old emotions we have no conscious awareness of.

The book identifies a way to work through uncomfortable problems and just about every situation. It’s the See Feel Hear Challenge. I’m not going to give it all away but basically the authors teach us how to slowly allow ourselves a way in which to face and work through anything that is causing us pain or discomfort. No crazy stuff, just good old fashioned introspection- and a whole lot of courage.

My favorite section is on setting an intention. This is something I am trying to do more of lately and the book describes the process in very good detail and easy to understand directions.

Other chapters are on responsibility and the freedom to choose, social conditioning, addiction and compulsions and some other challenging subjects. If you are looking for a book to guide yourself into the next spiritual plane, this one may be exactly what you are looking for.

And here is my disclosure per Hay House Publishers. I get to choose the book I wish to review, it is given to me free of charge, and I am not compensated for my endorsement of this book. This review is my personal opinion.

There are some other reviews of this book on

Join me on my graceful journey.

15 Replies to “Gifts in Strange Wrapping Paper”

  1. First let me just say Joanne how much I love the red cardinal in your banner photo!!! The book sounds interesting. It’s one thing to agree with such theories when the turmoil of life is a distant thought but you and I both know that once you’re in the heat of a crisis, tragedy or massive illness, the thinking of such being some sort of “gift” or positive challenge for the betterment of self and soul is something scorned.
    I once read a wonderful book based on the life of Padre Pio—that most mystical Capuchin monk from Pietrelcina, Italy , who was canonized by Pope John Paul.
    Padre Pio always taught that God always draws closet to those who are in such dire straights of turmoil and tragedy. I like that thought, but find it so terribly difficult to feel God’s nearness during difficult, challenging and heartbreaking times.
    In the hindsight of it all, it is a comfort knowing that He is there!!
    Blessings for a delightful Christmas for you and your entire family-

    1. Hi Julie!
      Glad you like the cardinal banner! That photo was taken right in my back yard where I love to feed the birds!
      I have not heard of Padre Pio but I think I like him already. I do believe that it is very hard to feel God’s presence in times of turmoil but when my mother fell very ill last year, I felt (thankfully!) enveloped most all the time. My friends were praying for me and my mom and that brought me much hope.
      Blessings to you as well for a wonderful Christmas! xo Joanne

      1. You would like reading about him—he bore the wounds of the stigmata for most of his life—he was treated quite poorly by the Church he so honored and loved–weathering an inquiry to his “holiness”–but it was his reaction, or actually lack of reaction but rather quiet dedication to simply being God’s servant as a humble monk, which helped him to emerge on the other side unscathed.
        I agree about God’s enveloping powers and the power of being supported in prayer, it’s just that I think of those parents at Sandy Hook. I cannot even imagine the terrible anguish they lived throughout following that most horrendous day. I know that they have been sustained and uplifted but I am certain their anguish, on a day to day basis, must have been and still continues to be crushing.
        But yes, God was there on that fateful day, feeling the pain and anguish for all involved…
        Oh what a complicated world we live in–
        but thank you for your support throughout this year of transition of dealing with Dad—it’s been a true blessing having someone “out there” who totally understood / understands the challenges I’ve faced–Thank you Joanne

  2. I agree, Joanne, you cardinal banner is a delight.
    I think it’s how we look at something that will help one determine whether or not something traumatic is a gift or not. Traumatic things are NEVER given by God, but He is there during every situation in our lives. The gift our body gives us in an illness can only be considered a gift if we can understand our bodies are telling us that something is not balanced within us…there is something awry, and we need to correct it. We are never ‘given’ something to teach us anything, but we are experiencing something because we have something to learn about ourselves and our environment. I have been able to correlate dis-ease with stress related thoughts or deeds, either my own or from someone else. Long term stress related thoughts…fear, discontent, anger, etc. begin to degrade the body from within, and the symptoms may not show up until years later.

    We should never accept the dis-ease, but with love accept our body’s way of warning us, and helping to bring us into the light of ourselves.

    Oh, there is so much that can be said on this subject. Thank you for sharing this review. It was excellent.

    Marianne xo

    1. Thank you Marianne. Your words echo much of the book- they too use the word dis-ease- and I believe too that God does not GIVE us traumatic things but is with us through every situation no matter how difficult.
      Blessings to you! Joanne

  3. Sounds like it was a challenging book to read. I have had some very strangely wrapped gifts and, if I could have sent them back or exchanged them at a store,( like we do with regular gifts), I would have done so gladly. We can have positive outcomes from hardship or suffering but it’s such a lot of hard work; I much prefer my gifts in pretty paper 🙂

  4. Joanne, I was just visiting your events site, and it’s fabulous! Oh, I wish you many blessings with this venture. Today seemed to be the day to dive into Linkedin, and I dove…I will admit though, that much of it is foreign to me, I’m clicking this and that, not really knowing what I’m doing, but maybe with a little help from my friends and God, I’ll get used to it all. I’m just pleased with myself that I got as far as I did. I think God was like, okay, Marianne, today’s the day to expand. I’ve tried things like this previously, but wasn’t able to make heads or tails of the sites…today was different.

    Hugs to you,

    1. Marianne, I have found the only way to learn is to plow through it. I usually make a mistake somewhere but figure it out eventually. 🙂 This is how the modern world works. I wish I could forget technology (!) but in order to compete (at least to get my business off the ground) I have to embrace technology.
      Awesome job of getting on Linked IN. I love your photo!
      xo Joanne

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