Elsa Neal, editor, BellaOnline.com:
"The Inspired Heart is artist Jerry Wennstrom’s episodic memoir, beginning shortly before his infamous destruction of his artworks and tracking his spiritual journey to a point where his creativity reconnected with the creative source.
The Lotus Guide:
"This is a book that gives a whole new meaning to the term “Starving Artist.” It is for all those who ever wondered what would happen if they cast their fates to the wind and let life unfold as it would. Jerry let go of the illusion we call “control” when he destroyed all of his artwork and walked away from his artistic career to find his unique spiritual path. Individuals among us have always left the tribe to find a different way to see the world and eventually bring that vision back to the tribe to continue our evolution. The information that Jerry brings back could not be more timely as we watch the inevitable shortcomings of excessive materialism."
Joe Bankhead, editor, A Journal of a Wanderer on the Way of Transformation:
"This very well-written, full-color illustrated, first-person account of the creation of the re-born Jerry Wennstrom and his marvelous art is a transformational classic, in my humble opinion. When I was given this book, I devoured it immediately. I was humbled, inspired, stimulated, and changed by reading the details and viewing all of the wonderful photos of his remarkable journey. "I loved this book, related deeply to its message, and I think I will likely always consider it one of the jewels of transformational literature."
Chris Bache, author "Dark Night, Early Dawn" and former program director, The Institute of Noetic Science:
"Few of us have emptied our cup as completely as Jerry Wennstrom did when he destroyed his art in 1979, and therefore few have experienced as deep a reawakening to the subtle stirrings of the divine in everyday life. It's hard for me to convey how deeply I respect what Jerry shares with us in his book "The Inspired Heart," in his art, and above all in his person. Here is a completely genuine voice of creative spirit."
Christina Baldwin, author The Seven Whispers: Listening to the Voice of Spirit:
"Jerry Wennstrom is an artist who works both with materials and with relationships. This book is truly a story of 'pilgrim's progress' told by a man who risked everything to find his true path and the inevitable spiritual gifts that come from helping each other along the way."
Joe Kulin, publisher Parabola Magazine:
"This artist's thoughts and experiences of living on the edge will expand and challenge your vision of life's possibilities. The book is full of daring incidents and fascinating characters, and exemplifies why the spiritual life can be stranger than fiction. Travel along in the 'now' as Wennstrom surfs the waves of life and carries the most colorful people with him."
Ralph White, of New York Open Center's Lapis Magazine:
"In 1979, Jerry Wennstrom, a rising star in the New York art world, intentionally destroyed his paintings and gave away his possessions and money. He spent well over the next decade wandering, seeking, and listening, relying only on his own intuition and an unconditional trust in the Universe to provide for him. In consciously emptying himself of his identity, Jerry was led on an extraordinary spiritual journey and ultimately, a return to creating art. In his new book, The Inspired Heart: An Artist's Journey of Transformation, Jerry tells the story of his metaphorical death and rebirth as an artist and as a man. The Inspired Heart is a self-portrait of the life of a man guided by a desire to connect to the divine, and armed only with an unwavering faith in Grace to sustain him. In sharing the tale of his remarkable survival and his surrender to life experience, Jerry writes that he hopes "to bring the mystery of this survival back to the tribe as a story."
Vi Hilbert, 83-year-old Salish Elder, author and storyteller:
"If you have the patience or the tolerance to listen to what Jerry has shared with us you will know how our wisest healers deal with the people in our world. Each person needs someone to 'listen' to them. Jerry has brought us to the inside of listening. Thank you, Jerry, for your compassion and your true and generous gift of listening and allowing us to eavesdrop. Dahadubul, you have honored each of us with the words shared in this book. These words express your beautiful gift of honoring life in all of its forms."
Laura Chester, author, Holy Personal and Lupis Novice:
"In a society where 'everything is never enough,' Jerry Wennstrom's book, The Inspired Heart: An Artist's Journey of Transformation is an unconditional gift. This most amazing story is chronicled with great humor and clarity. Crazy characters crop up around him, but he draws each one into the still point, which he so effortlessly inhabits. Calm and generous to the core, we see how the art form of his life comes full circle. Destroying his early work, abandoning career and apartment, and then wandering without money or regular food, he survives in ways that can only be called miraculous. Jerry's story illustrates the outrageous transformational healing which can only come with a direct and fearless confrontation with death. Ultimately, reborn, he returns to art with newfound passion. He makes us see how everything in this world counts, how everything magically fits into place. As Wennstrom writes in the final chapter, The Holy Fool, 'The personal link to the sacred is all there is when we are fully engaged in our own true life.' "
Andrea Kulin, early childhood teacher and storyteller:
"I found this book called "The Inspired Heart" sitting around the house and I picked it up and, as I like to do, looked through the pictures. Well, they were certainly spectacularly engrossing in their originality, color, cleverness and beauty. But, then it happened: I saw how painlessly short each story was, so I risked reading one. I haven't returned the book since then. It is wonderful. I started with the chapter "Healing the Bloodline" and it so rang true in me -- in my own experience -- it really touched me. Jerry shares his life with such simplicity and candor. I don't know quite what I'm trying to say, but I felt that if everyone on Planet Earth could see themselves with that same lack of self-consciousness and with that same consciousness of the self, we would all feel closer, and have more understanding and compassion, as human beings. Well, I'm savoring this book and whomever was next on the list to read it will just have to wait (I can't be compassionate ALL the time)!!!"
Claire Dunne, author, Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul:
"This book engages us in a life worth emulation. In Jerry Wennstrom, his life is his art and art his life, a seamless flow from inner to outer expression of light and dark, multileveled, joyously humored and lit with authentic experience of being in service to its source."
Laura Simms, international storyteller, writer/editor Parabola Magazine, author, Bone Man:
"The Inspired Heart -- a needed true-to-life mythic story. Jerry Wennstrom's narrative is piercing and irresistible. His courageous quest for spirit and meaning in a world blinded by consumerism is a modern fairytale to find the source of art and inspiration. His stories invite the fearless heart to open."
David La Chapelle, author, Navigating the Tides of Change:
"We have in Jerry Wennstrom's work something that is very needed for our current times: a life placed in service of the soul's depth. This surrender to a deeper calling and the conviction necessary to craft a life that supports such a response is medicine for our troubled times. If we could all dip into the wellpsring of creative faith that Jerry has manifested then our world would be a better place. Jerry is an artist that shows us how to have the courage to bring healing to our world. This is one of the highest callings any of can have and we owe a debt to Jerry for helping to guide us on our collective journey."
Deloris Tarzan Ament, author, Iridescent Light: The Emergence of Northwest Art and Dark Visions: The Art of Annihilation. (Deloris was also the art critic for The Seattle Times for over twenty years):
"In giving up everything - possessions, attachments, even speech and food - Jerry Wennstrom found his true self, and something more: the wellspring of human nature. The Inspired Heart chronicles his journey and the Holy Fools he met along the way. His art reflects that deep level of knowing which links each of us to that part of our nature which is eternal."
Carolyn North, author The Experience of a Life Time; Seven Movements:
"When I first saw Jerry Wennstrom's recent artwork - life-size sarcophagi adorned with found objects which whirred and rotated and wagged body parts - I assumed I was looking at the work of a man of genuine whimsy. Here was an artist, I thought, whose life had been innocent enough of suffering that he could perceive the playful joke in everything.
Creative Cafe, Peter H. Rosen, founder, V.A.R.I.O.U.S. Media:
"I highly recommend Jerry Wennstrom’s soul-filled work. In The Inspired Heart: An Artists Journey of Transformation, Jerry beautifully tells simple stories that speak of the charity of the soul, painting pictures of the secret meanings in magical moments and interconnection of all life (and death). His alphabetic canvass speaks the songs of God and how being touched by simple acts of kindness lights the way in a still sleeping world. He provides a guiding beacon through the uncharted waters of our evolution by recounting his life's stories."
Alternatives Magazine, Summer 2003:
"An amazing personal story, chronicled with great humor and clarity. Jerry was a rising star in the art world when he realized he was too attached to his identity. So he destroyed all of his art, gave everything away and spent 15 years wandering, seeking, listening, and trusting. Crazy characters crop up all around him, but he draws each one in with calmness and generosity. In giving up everything he found his true self, and something more: the wellspring of human nature."
Swami Ganga-Puri Kalituttamananda-Giri, The Meditation Society of America’s Suggested Reading:
"This book is excellent if you want to follow the events of someone’s life that is totally surrendered to the universe. For 15 years Jerry Wennstrom lived and wrote down his experiences as he surrendered bit by bit.
Midwest Book Review, April 2003:
"Autobiographically written by Jerry Wennstrom, The Inspired Heart: An Artist's Journey Of Transformation is the story of an artist's journey in search of truth. In 1979, New York artist Jerry Wennstrom destroyed his own paintings, gave away his money and possessions, and sought to purge his personal identity, and in the process, open himself to wonder. This remarkable artist's memoir is enhanced with black-and-white photographs and a 16-page inset section of full-color plates showcasing a series of magnificent interactive box art. The Inspired Heart is a unique and quite remarkable contribution to 20th Century Art History reading lists."
Tony Grist, for the New Hope International Book Review:
"In September 1979 Jerry Wennstrom, a successful New York artist, sold his possessions, destroyed his paintings and dedicated himself to God. He became celibate, refused to work for pay and lived as a kind of secular monk for the next twelve years. In the early '90s he moved from New York to Washington State and began to ease himself back into society. He is now married and has resumed his career as an artist.
Pilgrims UK: Mind Body Spirit Super:
"In 1979, Jerry Wennstrom began an experiment to find out if there was a god. At the time he was a successful New York artist, but he decided to destroy his paintings and give away all his money and possessions. He began to tune his inner world into the natural patterns and rhythms of what he perceived to be the perfect order of the outer world. He asked for nothing from any human being, relaying on unconditional trust and non-interference. If food became available, he ate, and only if necessary, he spoke. He had to confront his own fears and those of others, but only by fully committing to this way of life on the edge could he create the space for miracles and come full circle to re-enter the world of creative expression through art. This is an account of the true stories that unfolded as he made this transformative journey."
River Front Times:
"If you read the blurb on the back of Jerry Wennstrom's autobiography, The Inspired Heart: An Artist's Journey of Transformation, you'd think the man is a crackpot. This truly talented New York painter gave away all his work and his possessions in the late '70s and became a full-time Zen wanderer. He dropped out in order to find himself and commenced to contemplating the universe, often going for long periods without speaking a single word.
Unfolding.org, October 2002:
"The Library of Congress categorizes this book as a "spiritual biography," a term I hadn't heard before, but which is quite fitting. Jerry Wennstrom was an up-and-coming painter in the late 70s, when he decided to destroy all his work, give away his belongings, and live moment-to-moment, seeing what the universe had in store for him. The book is made up of dozens of short vignettes and insights about people he met and experiences he had during his 15 years of seeking God. At various points, Wennstrom lives without money, food, sex, racism, talking, time, fear and other cultural items we take for granted as "basics."
Whidbey Island Writers' Association Newsletter:
"Whidbey Island artist Jerry Wennstrom tells his story of living on the edge and finding his true path. While a successful artist living in New York City, Jerry destroyed his art work and abandoned his apartment, career and all tangible forms of security. For ten years he lived in the present, open to whatever life offered. During his spiritual journey, he lived life from the heart and trusted his intuition. He chose to quit trying to control what happens but to accept what comes. Jerry eventually returned to art. His book includes color prints of his work. At his web site (this Web site), you can see photos of some of his incredible sculptures, though to enjoy them fully you need to see them in person to get the full effect of their wiggling parts, flashing lights, boiling water, opening doors, sound effects and other fun surprises."
Annie Zalezsak, for Vibrant Universe:
"The Inspired Heart is a collection of memories that span a period in the life of Jerry Wennstrom. He describes those life-changing moments that altered his destiny; both outwardly and inwardly.
Cynthia Sue Larson, author of "Aura Advantage," for RebeccasReads.com:
"Artist Jerry Wennstrom shocked the New York art community in 1979 when he destroyed his paintings at the pinnacle of his illustrious career. Guided by an inner passion to connect directly to divine consciousness, Jerry Wennstrom gave away his possessions & began a journey based on complete surrender to life experience. The Inspired Heart shares his journal of how he lived for years in a state of grace & faith, discovering divine intelligence & inspiration in a wide breadth of experiences.
Mary Leue, of Down-to-Earth Books:
"He who fears to be foolish will never learn to be wise." -- I Cor. 3:18 "A slave you must be. Either you are a slave for the world or you are a slave for God."
C. Bailey-Lloyd (aka LadyCamelot) Public Relations' Director & Staff Writer for holisticjunction.com:
"Spiritual food for the soul: Allow Jerry to take you on his magical and enlightening soul pilgrimage. As he invites you to accompany him along his life adventures, he introduces you to selfless acts of deep, human spirit and his fascinating relationships. Often, by chance encounters, Jerry immerses the reader into impromptu stories of surrealistic wonder and actual life experiences. From his friendship with two, elderly sages; or E.T., the street kid - Jerry's autobiography inspires the uninspired, captivates the soul and brings a vital spark to everyday monotony. Jerry illustrates and exhibits the simplest of miracles - through soul journey. His words, "...In the shadow lands of life's most terrifying experiences, something inherently noble in the human heart unexpectedly enters in and renders the voices of good and evil mute..." Poetically expressed, Jerry's wisdomful words echo transcendental advice into the inner-knowing and evolutionary, inner-peace process. Broken down into humankind's most simple form, Jerry withdraws from `normal' human existence to fully embrace life's spiritual side. (His eventful life, in my own opinion, somewhat parallels the life of the so-called Jerry in the film, Down and Out in Beverly Hills.) Noncomedically however, he lived purely off chance and engaged in most uninspiring conditions; and made do with what life had to offer - never complaining...only transforming. A human, but humbling experience, Jerry relays how his internal transformation came full circle. A book that promotes personal growth and comprehension of the mortal experience, The Inspired Heart is awe-inspiring, and an exceptional read."
Nathalia Brady, Brady Magazine:
"Throughout his brave journey, Wennstrom allows us to suffer with him, and in doing so helps us to realize that we all have gifts. When we shed all vestiges of materialism, we are naked except for our strength. If we use what we learn wisely, life has meaning as well as potential. This is vividly portrayed through Wennstrom's strong style, and it is an honour to have travelled this road through his words."
Peter Shepherd, Metamorphosis Book Review:
"When I was in my early twenties, I remember understanding well the song by Cat Stevens that spoke of ties and possessions: "Well I ain't got nothing, but it don't worry me, I came to this life like a free walking tree; no need to be tied, no need to be-they call me Jzero." Several times in my life I've been through that scenario, having lost everything-but in retrospect, gaining everything. It gives you a new start.
David Jay Brown, author of Mavericks of the Mind and Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse:
"Jerry Wennstrom is a rare and courageous individual, with an unusual talent for deeply inspiring others and expanding one's sense of what is possible. A master storyteller and a brilliant visionary artist, Jerry weaves a powerful alchemical magic into his mythic creations. Jerry's faith and openness to the cyclical rhythm of life has brought him a bounty of spiritual wealth and ancient wisdom that he is eager to share. The Inspired Heart is a wise and precious document, revealing the timeless secrets of simplicity and holy revelation. Your perspective of the world and yourself will be forever changed after you read this beautifully-crafted, shamanically-transformative book."
Christopher Moors, host of Creative Cosmos:
"The Inspired Heart is a magical, insightful and dreamy book with a nice, even, leisurely pace of reading. Jerry's relaxed approach with acceptance towards whatever happens demonstrates the non-judgmental perspective of "The Witness/Watcher." With trust he overcomes fear and follows life experience through, extracting the lessons of each moment.There are genuine mystical occurrences in "The Inspired Heart," as well as many open innocent interactions with children. I found the overall aesthetic of the book to be one of its best qualities, helping attune the reader to a meditative state of being. More than once while reading and after, I saw things how Jerry might. One gets a sense of Tao and the Harmony that comes from a person at peace with himself and his place in the Universe."
Arjuna Ardagh, author of The Translucent Revolution, founder of Living Essence Foundation:
"The Inspired Heart by Jerry Wennstrom is a remarkable and inspiring account of one man's journey into complete surrender. We have all read and talked about trusting in existence, and here is a man who stays with that commitment to the very edge and beyond, exploring every angle and corner of what trust can really mean. The fruit of this exploration is transmitted through Jerry's extraordinary art. This is a must read book for every translucent reader."