Normally at this point in the book process, I’m anxious about the release. What will people think? Does it make sense? I still have those questions, but with this book—Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience—I just can NOT wait for us to talk about it. It’s always so much more powerful to learn, unlearn, and relearn with y’all.
In so many ways, Atlas is the culmination of 20 years of research, and in other ways, it’s like nothing I’ve done before.
There are three sections of the book. The first starts with a deeply personal look into why emotions have always mattered to me and why we need an emotional vocabulary that is as expansive as our experiences.
Having access to the right words can open up entire universes. When we don’t have the language to talk about what we’re experiencing, our ability to make sense of what’s happening and share it with others is severely limited. Without accurate language, we struggle to get the help we need, we don’t always regulate or manage our emotions and experiences in a way that allows us to move through them productively, and our self-awareness is diminished.
Language shows us that naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power, it gives us the power of meaning and understanding.
The middle section maps out 87 emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. What are the words, what do they mean, what do we get wrong, and how does language not only communicate what we’re feeling but actually shape our emotions? In these pages, we’ll discover why language is a portal to new universes full of new choices and second chances.
The final section is something that I still can’t stop thinking about. I’ve spent the past 20 years trying to build a framework for meaningful connection. How do we find our way back to ourselves and each other? I started this quest as a doctoral student, but no matter how much data I collected, I couldn’t do it. Something was missing. But this book became the treasure map that led me to the missing piece: a concept from Buddhism that changed everything.
I couldn’t be more excited to start sharing this work with you. Atlas will officially be released into the world on November 30.