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Book Report: The Map To Love: 
How to Navigate the ART of the HeART

“Who am I?/ What is the purpose of life?/ Where did I come from?/ What am I really made of?/… Why are we here?/ The answer… LOVE.”

The Map To Love: How to Navigate the ART of the HeART (Timeless Press Productions, 2012) is a playful, beautiful book exploring the nature of human emotions and how all of our feelings, in essence, lead back to or stem from love. Written by Robert Peter Jacoby, a psychotherapist who has worked with patients in North Carolina for over 18 years, and illustrated by Brian MacGregor, a full-time artist based in Savannah, G.A. who travels around the world for inspiration, the collaborative project pairs inspirational words with brilliantly colorful works of arts. It’s goal: To steer readers towards embracing love by realizing that love is “everything.” 

The Map To Love reads like a psychological prose poem. Jacoby’s insightful musings are expressed in many forms: complete sentences, lists, short stories, diagrams and even in a single word that consumes an entire page. The book is also written using a range of font types that include bold, large words, sentences written in all capital letters, small curling type faces, red fonts, green fonts, blue fonts, all of which visually relate or emphasize the topic at hand. For example, when Jacoby writes, “So, you believe that your have a broken heart” he stresses the word believe by writing beLIEve, where LIE is written in extremely large, blotchy green letters. 

One of the key points to living a life saturated by love is, as stressed in chapter one, to live in the present moment. As Jacoby emphasizes, life is but a series of moments, and each present moment is all we every really have. “The past is our history, the future our fantasy, and the present moment, now, is reality.” To live in the past, is to slow one’s experience of time: “When you dwell on the pain that you have experienced in your life you feel… heavy, sad, depressed, weighted, guilty regretful.” In turn, living in the future, a fantasy, speeds up time: “When you constantly live in and worry about the future you feel… anxious, fearful stressed, worried, panicked.” These ideas, which are explored in Zen psychology and in contemporary works like Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth, stress the importance of living for each breath, for each precious moment of life.

Another memorable point in The Map To Love, which especially resonated with this reader, focuses on the notion that pain and heartache is a reflection of love itself. When one grieves, that pain is a testament to the depth of the love shared and experienced between former lovers or estranged friends. Jacoby writes: “Pain is essentially a form of love, whether you have lost yourself, someone else, or something, pain is the measure of how much you have truly loved.” Jacoby compares the pain of heartache to the pain experienced by every other muscle in the body, which once stretched and torn, only grows stronger. In essence, pain will strengthen the heart and ones ability to love again, which is an extremely empowering point for the weary hearted (for they will emerge stronger than ever before). 

“Without the experience of sour, there is no sweet; … Without the experience of silence, there is no music; 
without the true experience of pain, there is no true humble, gentle, and fragile appreciation of love.”

MacGregor’s striking artwork is elegantly linked with Jacoby’s philosophical understandings. An especially beautiful and haunting piece titled “The Broken Heart,” (also the title of chapter 4) depicts a face framed by a tree and by two figures (or statues) sleeping on ground. The face, with narrow, almond-shaped eyes and wide lips, is weeping. White waterfalls, a constant flow of grief, pour from her eyes in an image that captures loss and the feeling that the tears of heartache will never cease to fall. MacGregor’s art elevates The Map To Love from an inspirational self-help guide to an object of true beauty.

​Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt   The Mountain Xpress, Asheville NC
Edie Weinstein of Beliefnet.com​

What if you were offered a map/guide/compass to this land called Love in which you could immerse yourself in its healing waters, scale its beautiful peaks, traverse its rainforests, drinking in the luscious aromas, sweet sounds and tantalizing sensations? Would you use it or instead, wander aimlessly in the shadowy caves comprised of familiar/treacherous fears and limiting thoughts about life and relationships? A guide for many in his personal and professional lives, Rob Jacoby has written a book entitled The Map To Love: How To Navigate The Art Of The Heart. For the past 20 years, Jacoby has worked with clients who struggle with daily challenges and this book would provide solace for those who wonder about their own value to the world.

The cover invokes a sense of offering and receptivity, as the figure in the center radiates joy, while being showered with feathers, like so many wafting snowflakes. Of course, this reviewer who loves feathers, has a clown persona named Feather and gives them out regularly, enjoyed that touch. From the get-go, he invokes the idea that LOVE. IS. THE. ANSWER….simple as that. The ooooohhhh ahhhhh oozing of bliss that permeates this easily readible in a short time frame book, reminds me of the style of Rob Brezsny who penned Pronoia Is The Antidote To Paranoia. Playful, funny, irreverent, poignant and two the point, it asks the age old questions about our true identity, the nature of life and what makes us happy. And it answers it succinctly….LOVE. Love and fun are equated and the now is where love resides. When we are mindful of that truth, then the ‘what if’ anxiety and ‘if only’ depression can’t fully kick in.

“The real question,” Jacoby poses is “Are you living in love?” and beckons the reader to become a love magnet. Since we attract what we are, it wold behoove us to splash around in love. He proposes the idea that love and pain go hand in hand and that feeling as if love is lost increases the pain exponentially when we have also loved deeply. He does differentiate between pain and suffering, noting that the first is part of this human experience is essential and the second is optional.

The map referenced in the title is literally part of the book as it contains landmarks, including love, loss, grief and pain for the reader to make their way.

Glorious artwork offered by the clearly talented, Brian MacGregor is influenced, it seems, by his dream studies and practice.

I enthusiastically, joy leapingly encourage you to read this book and you too may find your heart chakra opens wide and you may feel like E.T. with the illumination radiating out from the center of your chest.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/blissblog/2013/01/the-map-to-love.html#ixzz2MCWv43wm - See more at: