The Passionate Heart
By Zoe Ann Nicholson



The Hungry Heart is now one of my favorite books about the women's movement. It is a passionate and moving account of Zoe Ann Nicholson's Fast for Justice during the struggle for the Equal Rights Amendment. From the first page to the last, Nicholson shares her most intimate thoughts and experiences during her non-violent resistance to social injustice. She draws you into her incredible personal journey of passion, sacrifice and sisterhood, and reveals her spiritual transformation along the way. Just try and put this book down - I couldn't! You will laugh, you will cry, and your heart will be touched

Christina Gage


Interview With The Author

Why did you decide to write a book?
How do you inspire yourself to write?

I remember the conversation as if it was just this morning. In fact it was 1992 at an afternoon meeting in a Hawaiian hotel. Rama asked me to stay and speak with him. Since I had two projects going (9 apprentices with me and a successful software business), I assumed it was in regards to them.

He told me that he had decided to ask 10 students to write books about him. These 10 students would be his emissaries around the world. He went on to explain that he had called together nine and spoken with them, but was waiting for the tenth to surface. He told me that I was the final one. He said “You will be my Simone de Beauvoir. I will send you all over the world to tell women about me.”

I wrote the book for one simple unequivocal reason, Rama asked me to and I said yes. As you may know, I left on August 31, 1993. It was a terrible meeting, a terrible departure, a terrible fissure which took years to understand, accept and heal. But I had said yes. I said yes to my Teacher. I had no thought, not a hint, that I could or would or should not complete a promised task. The relationship deserved it. Rama deserved it. I deserved it. I was inspired at the root of my soul. There was no whim, no drag, no finagling. My etiquette was always, and continues to be, that a promise is a promise. I spent the next 75 nights writing the 40 chapters of The Passionate Heart, in its entirety. Only two names have been changed at their request.

Do you have any suggestions to help others publish their books?
Go to Dan Poynter’s website, buy everything he offers on self-publishing. Follow it step by step. Skip nothing. And you will find yourself fully covered, fully enabled, fully informed on every one of a thousand steps to be self published. It is only tedious, not lofty.

Do you have any funny stories about things that happened while you were writing the book?
I can’t think of anything funny, but a couple of very intimate and dazzling things happened. The very man who encouraged me to go public turned midstream and got VERY upset about the book coming out. Several people have tried to stop me and they are people whom I love entirely. So the fact is that I did it against their advisement. It is between us now; a sad, dear and unexpected price.

Secondly, the reader who is a member of the Sangha might find it inspiring and interesting that (I believe) Rama’s hand touched this event three times this last year. The original manuscript was unnamed. I had felt that since it was a gift to him, it was his to name, so I never named it. Actually I still have the original note I enclosed with it November, 1993, giving him the naming of it. As the years peeled on, the unnamed manuscript was growing mildewy in my garage and I began to feel a big pull to put it into print. One morning I told Rama (in my heart) that I would consider it if the title came into focus. By 4 P.M. the title was clear and LOUD; The Passionate Heart. Being the stickler that I am, I went on to throw down another gauntlet a couple of weeks later – that the cover theme surface. That too became clear within a single day. Finally, and most privately, upon waking on February 9, 2003, I prayed for forgiveness. I forgave Rama, I forgave the Sangha, I forgave me. That day all healed.

What did you learn by writing a book?
I will have to get back to you on that – ask me in ten years – ok?

Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
I want to be asked, for whom did you publish this book, why did you publish this book.
I could write a book about this and I just may do so, LOL.

I want this book to be read by people across a wide spectrum of ideas and beliefs. I want people who love Rama to find him here. I want people who are afraid or suspicious to find healing here. I want parents and social cynics to find peace here. I want to include and acknowledge all interested and effected parties. I want to exclude or offend no one. This is most important to me.

I believe that Buddhism naturally unfolds as a society evolves. It is a simple and easy step in evolution. It is not transported over continents, but bubbles up within a nation. It is a reflection of the culture in which it evolves. Here in the US, it will equally include men and women, the BGLT communities, people of many colors and ages and even religions. It will be a new form of Self-Discovery that celebrates Transcendentalism and individualism, as opposed to the communal and team-oriented Asian expressions of the Four Noble Truths. Rama and his students are among the pioneers of this process. There may be 2,000 of us, in one form or another. Each of us is seeking on a private, elegant, discrete path upon which Rama walked, just a bit ahead, lighting the way.


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