From Mish, Findhorn, Scotland: In our household, when it comes to books we have a ‘one in : one out’ policy which, on the whole, we are pretty good at sticking to. However, despite only being purchased out of mild curiosity, our copy of Jane Ellen Combelic’s book, ‘No Coming, No Going,’ has definitely become a keeper and now sits on the shelf reserved for books for which we have the highest regard. These are the special ones and this particular gem is not going anywhere.
Heartfelt, at times painfully honest, always engaging, this is the autobiography of Jane and her beloved dog, Serafina. Through reading of their lives in the U.S.A. and France I came to have great respect and affection for Jane as she survived, grew and thrived with the help and guidance of Serafina who, it quickly transpires, is in fact, an angel. This is essentially the story of Jane and Serafina’s transformative love for one another and ultimately, of Jane’s growing sense of belonging, compassion and love for herself which, once rediscovered, enables life and miracles to flow.
‘No Coming, No Going’ is a deeply moving book and a gift of profound love and wisdom to its readers. As someone unlikely to read a book about Buddhism, I found Jane’s descriptions of her life at Plum Village, receiving regular teachings from its founder, the Zen master, Thich Nhat Hahn and his nuns and monks, thought-provoking and deeply inspiring. In fact, my partner and I read the book over the same time period and we often ended-up spending time each day discussing what we had read and applying the teachings to our own lives. We were inspired to watch several videos of Thich Nhat Hahn’s teaching sessions and greatly appreciated reading Jane’s descriptions of the practice of mindfulness as an essential anchor in her life. This is something we have begun to practice and even in our early dabblings, greatly value its transformative effects. Jane Ellen Combelic is a wordsmith and storyteller and ‘No Coming, No Going,’ is an articulate, moving, informative and undoubtedly inspiring book. I can’t wait to read the next instalment of her life story.
From Susie, U.K.: I have loved reading your book, could not put it down. I have finished and now going to lend my copy to one sister (in Devon) and she will then pass it on to our sister in France. I visited Lower Hamlet with one of my sisters last year, I left a piece of my heart there and know I will go back one day.
There was one weird night when I could not sleep and in the middle of the night I put a light back on and carried on reading – it was the chapter when you talked about having trouble sleeping and Serafina came and slept with you. I don’t have a dog, and at that moment I wanted one!
I really miss my partner, he died in 2016 and I am working my way through that grief, and so I also loved your final chapter (My Angel Flies) when you talk about Serafina living in your heart forever – which is exactly how I feel about Dave.
I could hug you for your honesty and lovely storytelling.
“No Coming, No Going is, paradoxically a book of journeying, of pilgrimage. It carries the reader through beautiful windows into a lifetime of discovering that which is always there, but always in hiding. It is a portrait of self-discovery, guided by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and companioned by an adorable dog, “pure mutt and all love”. Serafina, the angel who lightens the way. ‘In a world increasingly dominated by rules, regulations, and big money’ this is a personal journey, carrying the reader through vivid pictures of people and places; out from loneliness into belonging; from pain and confusion to awareness and engagement. On one level it is a marvelous travel book; on another it is a search for home and self-worth. It is full of deep questing and moment-to-moment delight. Thank you, Janelle, for taking me with you on this rich and heartfelt exploration, with all that is brought.” –Auriol de Smidt, poet, author of Song Spiral: A Calendar of Poetry