In the face of adversity, some wilt; some endure; others thrive. The goal of this book is to coach its readers into becoming like the roses that bloom in darkness, finding a new positive spin on the hardship they have endured and coming away from the experience better off. Author Michelle Pearce is a psychotherapist who has herself dealt with difficult situations like the devastating loss of what she thought was a partnership with the love of her life. In Night Bloomers, she shares both her personal lessons as well as thought experiments from her training to guide anyone struggling with a disappointment, helping to reframe the experience as an opportunity to heal but also to come out better than before.
Her analogies are spot-on, like the example of a coiled spring being pushed into itself coming back extended, not just to its original length but further, using the force of the compression to enlarge itself. No one likes disappointments, but when they happen, I think we all want to be like a spring, surviving but also coming back stronger.
In Night Bloomers, Pearce shares examples of popular figures who she calls Night Boomers, like Nelson Mandela who underwent personal transformation during his 27 year prison sentence and emerged, in his word, mature, and ready to lead his country into democracy. She mentions lesser known but no less successful people like Jenny Owens who dealt with the difficult experience of watching her newborn son undergo life changing medical treatment, and went on to found a nonprofit organization, Hosts for Humanity, to host patient families who are temporarily displaced as they provide care for a loved one.
Night Bloomers is not just a transformative read; it is also a guided workbook, encouraging readers to journal your way to better mental health. Pearce quotes research that concluded that people writing about traumatic experiences they have endured, may suffer painful reminders in the short term, but go on to enjoy better state of mind as they process the situations that cause them hurt. Eventually, she says, the emotional bonds are loosed so that it becomes easier to look objectively at what was lost, and also what new power can be gained from the experience.
The resources in this book are phenomenally comprehensive – writing prompts, suggestions of activities that complement the act of journaling, examples of success stories to encourage reflection and Blooming Check-In’s, a list of rhetorical questions to push the reader / writer into their epiphanies. Night Bloomers also focuses on spiritual wellness by discussing Christian principles as well the limitations within religious or social acceptance and suggests ways to overcome the taboo that might be present in some parts of our society of questioning the discrepancy between spiritual beliefs and experiences. The kind of Why do bad things happen to good people? question that may be frowned on by some but that is probably a default in many. Pearce offers tips to reframe those questions, showing that the most successful around us are probably the ones who best learned to use dung as fertilizers.
Night Bloomers would be a great gift for someone you know who is struggling through a painful loss but it may also be helpful for you to finally reframe a past hurt that you have locked away and can finally turn it into something powerful. High praise for the resources included in Night Bloomers.
Thanks Trish from TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy of this book. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed above reflect my honest assessment of the book.
About Night Bloomers
• Publisher: Ixia Press (September 16, 2020)
• Paperback: 224 pages
What if there are people, just like some flowers, who require the dark to bloom?
When we are plunged into the dark and difficult times in life, one of three things can happen next: the darkness can destroy us; it can leave us relatively unchanged; or it can help to transform us. In this hope-inspiring guide, clinical psychologist, Michelle Pearce, PhD, provides practical tools and wisdom for transforming and thriving in adversity and loss.
Just as some flowers require the dark to bloom, there are some people who do their best growing and becoming during dark and challenging times. In “Night Bloomers,” Pearce teaches us how to adopt the perspective of a Night Bloomer and to use the soil of adversity to grow something beautiful in our lives.
With a compassionate voice, Pearce shares her clinical expertise, her own journey through the dark, and inspiring stories of other Night Bloomers to help individuals learn how to heal and transform their lives not in spite of their difficult times, but because of them.
Drawing upon the research on post-traumatic growth, we are given a dozen practical approaches for transforming loss, pain, and suffering into positive growth and transformation. Each chapter explains an empirically based principle for handling adversity, followed by insightful writing prompts designed to help us experience the principle personally.
“Night Bloomers” guides us through the dark times in life, making them a fertile place to grow and become in ways we couldn’t have done so in the light.