The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön

The Places That Scare You by Pema ChödrönThe Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön
Published by Shambhala on March 27, 2007
Genres: Religion, Spiritual Growth
Pages: 208
Source: I listened to this audiobook via my TuneIn Premium subscription.
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We always have a choice, Pema Chodron teaches: We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder. Here Pema provides the tools to deal with the problems and difficulties that life throws our way. This wisdom is always available to us, she teaches, but we usually block it with habitual patterns rooted in fear. Beyond that fear lies a state of openheartedness and tenderness. This book teaches us how to awaken our basic goodness and connect with others, to accept ourselves and others complete with faults and imperfections, and to stay in the present moment by seeing through the strategies of ego that cause us to resist life as it is.


I picked up The Places That Scare You because Pema Chödrön is a favorite of a dear friend of mine. The narrator of the audiobook, Joanna Rotté, was fantastic. Her speaking pace is perfect: slow enough to absorb the points, but not so slow that I felt impatient.

Chödrön is so down to earth! There’s no pretense here. She explores questions such as, why do we meditate? How do we extend compassion and loving kindness to others? How can we adjust our mindset so that we view difficult people as a source of practice for that loving kindess?

“We are certain about who we are, and who others are, and it blinds us. If another version of reality comes knocking on our door, our fixed ideas keep us from accepting it.”

She talks about the things we do to avoid discomfort and fear, and lovingly calls us out on—and provides insight as to the reasons behind—our excuses. The Places That Scare You is written from a Buddhist perspective, but delivered in a way that anyone can gain insight, regardless of spiritual background. There’s a lot of peace to be found in this book. Highly recommend.

“When we give up the hope of doing it right and the fear of getting it wrong, we realize that winning and losing are both acceptable.”

  • I’ve only read Chodron and am thinking now that maybe listening to her works would be better because while I find her in touch with modern day life, I’ve felt like her expectations can be high. As in, a more strict Buddhist approach than i can manage. Still, this sounds like one I need to try!