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Garden in the East-The Spiritual Life of
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How we care for and nurture our bodies has implications for all areas of our development—physical, emotional, and even spiritual. The body is a living and organic revelation of the unseen spirit inside—a kind of garden. Garden in the East is a poetic exploration of how the care of the body can lead us to wholeness and wellness in every area of our lives.

"Carlson is writing about a whole, integrated, and flourishing approach to life, even as she addresses topics including comparison, setbacks, and balanced eating. As she learns to love her own midlife body, she calls her readers to cherish their lives and bodies instead of warring with them."
                                - Englewood Review of Books

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The Philokalia - a collection of the best writings from Orthodox spiritual masters across many centuries - is a treasure trove of direction for the spiritual life. But it can be overwhelming at first glance. Popular author and podcaster Angela Doll Carlson set herself the mission of reading through The Philokalia in a year and journaling about the thoughts it called up in her. The result is a thoughtful, inspiring daily devotional that introduces new readers to this great spiritual classic and helps us apply the wisdom of the ages to a layperson's life in the modern world.

It was startlingly intimate. Like sitting in a solitary place, with a familiar book, and suddenly a stranger has approached and spoken softly, without preamble, “And this is how it is with me, with this,” pointing to the text in question, “Here is what my soul felt.”


From Catholic schoolgirl to punk rocker to emergent church planter, Angela Doll Carlson traveled a spiritual path that in many ways mirrors that of a whole generation. She takes us with her on a deep and revealing exploration of the forces that drove her toward Orthodoxy and the challenges that long kept her from fully entering in.

"This is a thoughtful, moving story of a contemporary American woman's journey into the Eastern Orthodox faith tradition. I loved how Carlson takes such a finely-crafted approach to the memoir, eschewing a chronological approach for a braiding of her life at different times into a more surprising narrative. This construction creates powerful thematic connections and makes such compelling emotional sense."


"Can you remember the last letter you received? Can you recall the feel of the paper against your fingertips, the sound of the pages turning, the slant of the cursive? 

The book you hold in your hands is a series of letters. They were written for you. They were written for desperate times and secret celebrations. They were written for days when the deep dark circled your head, for moments ripe for encouragement. They were written when you did not know how to feel, when you were too tired to dream, when you were in need." 

"Missives: Letters to a friend" is a compilation of compliments, a word of encouragement, a moment upon which to meditate.



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Angela Doll Carlson is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tahoma Literary Review, The Cresset Journal, Thin Air Magazine, Eastern Iowa Review, Rock & Sling, St. Katherine Review, Ink & Letters, Whale Road Review, Ruminate Magazine, Elephant Journal, and Art House America.


Her memoir, "Nearly Orthodox: On Being a Modern Woman in an Ancient Tradition" from Ancient Faith Publishers was published in 2014. Her book, "Garden in the East: The Spiritual Life of the Body" was published in 2016. Her latest book, "The Wilderness Journal" is forthcoming from Ancient Faith in November 2018.

Angela currently lives in Chicago, IL. You can find her writing online at,, and hear her podcast, The Wilderness Journal, on

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