AUTHOR: Patrice Dickey

Readers laugh and cry as they get to know and love the people, places and things (including the ‘dirty magnolia tree’ in the author’s back yard) on this winding journey through her adventures, follies and heartaches.
Patrice Dickey
Patrice Dickey


Book 1

Cover Image 1
Getting from Shadow to Joy

Audience: People in the midst of transition, suffering a loss, or experiencing the ups and downs of life; women; Renaissance men; spiritual seekers; people who enjoy gardening; young people starting out in life who want practical tools to help them develop their vision and achieve their goals.

BACK TO THE GARDEN: Getting from Shadow to Joy is a ‘page-turner’ that employs the power of positive thinking and the wisdom of the ages. Using a gardening metaphor, it helps remind people about their choices in dealing with the manure that comes into all of our lives: are they going to let it lie there in a big stinky pile, or convert it into fertilizer to strengthen the growing things in their gardens?

The book is filled with the riveting stories of real people who have used its simple wisdom to free themselves from shadow issues and self-defeating behaviors that hold them back.

Readers will learn how perfectionism can wreck their health, happiness and peace of mind--and some easy tools to get beyond that self-destructive approach to life and on to true happiness.

They will see how tapping creativity can save their lives--and how to get their own creative juices flowing again.

They'll discover what happens when they get rid of the 'Haunted Bed' in their life, and how visualization, Treasure Mapping and Personal Crests brought a new swimming pool to a cash-strapped graduate student; a career as a holistic chef to an empty nester mom who was in deep grief over the death of her sister; and peace of mind and the perfect career to a young man who had been molested as a child.

They'll discover some of the many ways people make themselves sick every day, and how to recognize and correct these negative behaviors. And they'll see how dreams, intuition, hypnotherapy and other tools help to access the subconscious and lead them back to their true selves.


Interview for “Back to the Garden: Getting from Shadow to Joy” by Patrice Dickey 

Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is pleased to be joined by Patrice Dickey, who is here to talk about her new book, “Back to the Garden: Getting from Shadow to Joy.”

As a speaker, award-winning author, workshop leader and life coach, Patrice Dickey helps others align their vision and values to create richer, more meaningful lives on every level. After having reinvented herself numerous times through many paradigm pitfalls and life shifts, she knows how to walk the talk!

Her passion today is her courses and workshops in spiritual growth and life transition. In the past, for 15 years she was one of fewer than ten female Dale Carnegie Sales Training instructors in the world, consistently receiving outstanding ratings.

She is author of the inspirational book “Back to the Garden: Getting from Shadow to Joy," its companion audiobook, “21 Selected Chapters from Back to the Garden,” and a series of DVDs on self- empowerment, including “Treasure Maps: Charting Your Path to Lifelong Success” and “Influence Made Easy: Making Connections That Sell.”

Published in 2006, “Back to the Garden” has won five awards in contests including Writers Digest, the international IPPYs and Best Books USA in inspirational/spiritual categories, as well as first prize for non-fiction from the Atlanta Writers Club.

In demand as a speaker for corporate workshops and keynotes on topics including “Think the Life You Love” and “Influence Made Easy: Making Connections that Sell,” she has been an instructor in Atlanta, Georgia, at Emory University’s Center for Lifelong Learning since 1999. She developed and teaches popular classes “Get the Life You Love” and “Yogativity™ (Yoga to Tap Your Creativity).” She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher.

PD Communications, her successful PR consulting firm which she ran for 16 years, served such clients as British Airways, some of the world's top surgeons, health and wellness clients, and other high caliber, high profile organizations.

She still regularly contributes articles to national and regional magazines on wellness, health and top destination spas. (Somebody has to do it! She laughs).

Tyler: Welcome, Patrice. To begin, will you tell us how you would define “Back to the Garden.” Is it inspirational, self-help, autobiography?

PD: Hi Tyler—it’s really a great magical garden comprising all those elements you mention, with plenty of weeds, dirt, rocky places & hard-packed clay; as well as the hopeful perennials, the colorful blooming annuals, fragrant shrubs and ornamentals. It’s a ramble down the Path of Possibility, through the valley of the shadow and back to joy. In other words, Life.

In 2006, shortly after the book was released, I was interviewed by James Taylor of FGTV on his half-hour show “Writers in Focus.” James has interviewed the GREATS like Frank McCourt, Cormac McCarthy and innumerable others in his career, and the taped interview he did of me is available on my website at

He commented that as a professional librarian he could place “Back to the Garden” in any number of categories: the memoir, the autobiography, as well as inspirational, educational and spiritual—and most of all the “Honesty Section.” It was a great compliment to me when he said, “This is an authentic book.”

Tyler: Why did you choose the title “Back to the Garden: Getting from Shadow to Joy?”

PD: For several reasons. Part of the backstory is that it evokes the innocence of the Woodstock generation and Joni Mitchell’s stunning song (also covered by Crosby, Stills & Nash on the Woodstock album) about getting back to that Eden in our hearts & minds—a time when we believed we could make a really positive impact on the world, and we fought for change in society.

Now, we Baby Boomers who have “had it all” need to step up to the plate and SAVE the garden for future generations—by altering some of our destructive habits like rampant consumerism—those misguided attempts to fill ourselves up by buying THINGS—as well as our dependence on resource-suckers and gas-guzzlers. Also by teaching our children to enjoy unstructured time in nature so they WANT to save it.

Another reason is that, before I really stepped onto the path of Self-Awareness, Self-Acceptance, Self-Respect and Self-Love, which I describe in my book, I had the proverbial “black thumb” and couldn’t keep a single plant alive.

My outer realm reflected the tragedies and self-hatred of my inner life—I was not very kind to myself or others—including plants!

Now, my home in the Enchanted Forest of Avondale Estates supports a beautiful garden, numerous flowers and plants, and it is a place of healing for all. I work with coaching clients on my screened porch three seasons of the year, and for them just to look out over this beautiful expanse is a healing and calming experience.

Yet another reason I chose the title “Back to the Garden” is that I love the gardening metaphor. The garden and nature beautifully exhibit the cycles of life. In our rush-rush society, we’re hypnotized (often by advertising and the media) into thinking that when one phase comes to an end that we have to immediately leap into the next thing—not true!

When we come to an ending, we must be willing to spend some time in the void, learning the powerful lessons there and regaining our strength, before the next new beginning.

Look at the way seeds, when planted, spend a long time in the dark before they spring forth into their glory. Then they cycle through life as well, eventually replenishing the soil when their remains are mulched under. There’s also the whole drama of the animals, the birds and the insects in the garden. We all have our places in life and our unique, specific roles.

And, getting right down to the gardening metaphor, people don’t relate to the glossed over version of life—they relate to the DIRT! We all have plenty of manure in our lives, and it’s our choice whether we’ll use it as fertilizer, or just leave it in a big stinking pile. There’s plenty of dirt in this book—my own and other people’s!

Tyler: Great metaphor, Patrice. You said you were not kind to plants in the past. What brought you back to Nature and its ability to heal?

PD: Tyler, I’ve got to tell you, in attempting to heal myself of the classic (and somewhat more dramatic than most) family issues, I’ve experienced just about every form of shrinkage and therapy known to man. For me it was either heal or die.

I couldn’t stuff it under like a lot of people choose to do with work or sex, exercise or shopping or food, gambling or alcohol or drug addictions—and since I’d seen how addiction and mental illness worked on my mother, I knew that path was not for me. I had to find balance.

When I found balance within myself, and when I believed I deserved to have a happier life, I moved to the Enchanted Forest of Avondale, manifesting exactly what I had hoped for—a lovely, garden terrace level office in my home, a tranquil, private space, and a two-level screened porch (the hot tub sits on the ‘Lido Deck’—so dubbed by the workmen).

I had not abandoned nature—and it had not abandoned me—through all the years before this. In my previous homes I would take long walks daily, and practice Tai Chi in beautiful public parks and gardens. That’s one of the reasons I support Park Pride, which leads & advocates for parks & green space throughout metro Atlanta. I totally believe in the healing aspects of parks, and so does Park Pride.

Tyler: You referred to Eden, and gardens are often a Christian symbol. Is “Back to the Garden” a religious book, or will non-believers also find it helpful”?

PD: “Back to the Garden” is more of a spiritual book, although I do cite a number of examples from the Judeo-Christian tradition. I also include examples from many other great religious and spiritual traditions including Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam and even Greek mythology (and probably more—I’ve always been fascinated by humanity’s search for meaning and inner peace).

Anyone who studies world religion will recognize that many of the same stories are reshaped by later generations—and other religions—to lend meaning to their current questions.

For those who are non-believers, they can substitute the words Love, Higher Self, Life Force or Nature for my shouts out to God throughout the book. It’s all the same thing, essentially, and in my opinion too many wars are fought over semantics.

Tyler: Why should people read “Back to the Garden”?

PD: I’m sharing what I’ve learned over the years from hundreds of teachers and the authors of inspirational books who have helped me open my awareness to new possibilities and happier, more fulfilling ways of living.

As I tell participants in my own classes and workshops, once your consciousness expands into new worlds, you can never stuff it back into that smaller box where it used to dwell. It demands more!

Of course it’s always our choice whether or not we’ll pay attention to the clarion call of our Higher Self to grow into our full expression, into the joyous lives we’re meant to live. Often books serve as guides into those rich realms within us that await our discovery, unlocking and sharing with others.

I offer this book as one potential key to the inner world: a different kind of “self-help” book, non-linear, without checklists and exercises, because the path of life rarely shapes up as a straight line.

Great thinkers throughout history, including John Lennon, have shared the wisdom that “Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.” Don’t we know that!

The healing heart does not operate by lists and schedules, but by fits and starts, one step forward and two steps back, treading old territory until it suddenly breaks into the clearing of joy.

It grows into wholeness through hints, suggestions and the sudden flash of recognition—the Aha! epiphanies that it is not alone in its struggles. “Back to the Garden: Getting from Shadow to Joy” is an amble through the sorrows that darken our lives back into the light of full creative expression; of discovering who we really are; of finding ourselves, finally, “at home.”

It is a ramble through the lives of many ordinary people whose positive outlooks, inner strength and heartfelt glory in life itself have made them my heroes and sheroes. May their heroic journeys serve as inspiration.

This meditative journey through my garden, into nature and through this world and the next with many beloved teachers is meant to help reassure, calm and guide any hurting or fearful souls who are in the healing process themselves, and all those who are seeking to pull themselves up to the next level.

In my studies of the workings of the subconscious mind, which believes whatever we tell it, good or bad, I have discovered that in conveying similar messages in many different ways, resistance begins to melt away and subtle, powerful positive shifts occur.

As people read, they too will shift in many wonder-working, powerful ways. Each individual’s wellbeing does make a difference to the world.

Tyler: Why did you decide to write and publish this book?

PD: This book (and others) have been calling out to me for my entire life. In fact, I recently found one of my early “journals” (in which my mother wrote what I dictated when I was about four and couldn’t write). It was the story of a little flower at a luau. I couldn’t believe it—it had a joke at the end; I will immodestly say I chuckled when I re-read it!

Actually, I have written two other books before this one—both were “fiction” but of course we know fiction is often lots of thinly disguised fact!

I wrote those the hard way—a page a day—using the laptop computer. It’s like breaking rocks, scrutinizing each word as it comes out; reshaping sentences until my head ached. I haven’t done anything with those yet because of the MASSIVE editing they still need…. But some day perhaps.

On this third one, I decided that I would write a non-fiction incorporating the stories of people who have attended my “Get the Life You Love” class which I’ve taught at Evening at Emory since 1999. Now more than 19 classes—and lots of success stories! Over the years I collected the ones that really resonated and wrote them in my journal.

Then when I had the longhand stream-of-consciousness “framework” that I employed to write this book, I was able to insert vivid examples of people whose lives have really shifted using the ideas I teach.

I decided to publish it because, after having had a successful PR career for 20 years, I was ready to move on to the next thing, speaker and author—and it’s always nice to have a platform—that’s my book.

Tyler: I understand the book has many short stories in it. Would you tell us a bit about these stories—are they non-fiction or autobiographical?

PD: One is the story of the empty nester who appeared in my class through several uncanny bits of synchronicity—she had no clue what to do with her life, and she was in deep grief over the recent death of her sister from brain cancer. She completely reinvented herself by doing the assignments such as the Treasure Map. She followed the sychronicities and energy to evolve into her new life as a holistic chef. What a victory! She is an inspiration to me.

Other stories include the broke graduate student who was able to build a swimming pool in her back yard. “This is all because of that insane exercise you made me do, Patrice,” she said when we sat by her pool four years after the class—it was the exact picture she had described in the Vision Vivid exercise!

Another is the story of my great friend Janet Smith, an artist in Memphis, whose head injury as a teenager, I believe, HELPED her develop her art—plus the story of her parents who owned Justine’s in Memphis—a landmark restaurant—what great bon vivants they were!

Many others are sprinklings of poetry and song, mythology from Greek or Hindu or other religions, as well as my own stories about some of the uplifting, and some of the extremely harrowing experiences in my own family.

Part of my own story involves the many times I have used the techniques I teach in class to scrape myself up off the tarmac, after my mother paralyzed herself in an alcohol-fueled rage.

Tyler: Tell us a little bit about yourself and the path you’ve taken to reach where you are today. Your introduction is very impressive, but what has motivated you to be so successful and especially to inspire others?

PD: With all I’ve learned in dragging myself back from the brink of self-destruction, and with story-telling being one of my gifts, it’s only natural for me to share these ideas that have been life savers for me. One of my favorite quotes in the class is: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself!”

Tyler: Patrice, I understand you have a background in education. How has that influenced you in your writing?

PD: People tend to remember stories or vivid examples better than facts or expository writing—and so I make my points come to life by sharing how these ideas have helped real people in real situations make real changes.

In fact, I’d given a talk at the International Congress of Esthetics shortly after my book was published—a thousand skincare specialists and hair stylists in a convention hall in Dallas. Afterwards I sold hundreds of copies of my book—the people were thrilled to have a road map of how to “get the life they love!”

Several months later I Googled the book, and was amazed to discover that a young woman had put “Back to the Garden” by Patrice Dickey on her MySpace as her favorite book—this is a 21-year-old esthetician in Broken Arrow, OK, who calls herself “SlapMeAndCallMeNorma” (which of course made me guffaw out loud!) Her comment, and this is probably the biggest compliment I could receive, was this: “Most amazing self help book I’ve ever read. It actually works!”

Tyler: I understand you are also very active in a number of ways including being a motivational speaker, life coach, and yoga instructor. How do you balance these activities with your writing—do you find they fuel one another?

PD: They all fit together. Yoga keeps me sane and balanced and in good condition; plus I use a lot of yoga wisdom in my talks and workshops to help people who are extremely stressed. I include many of my realizations from yoga practices in the book as well.

Tyler: Patrice, your book is designed to help people transform their lives. What do you think is the main reason that holds people back from having the life they want, and how will “Back to the Garden” help them?

PD: As I discover whenever I ask this question in the “Get the Life You Love” class, it’s FEAR. We can view FEAR as False Evidence Appearing Real, or perhaps even Friendly Energy Announcing Resistance!

We discuss that FEAR can be handled in several ways—we can Flee Everything and React or we can Face Everything and Recover. Fear really is an illusion; people can change their opinions of it—and this often takes a lot of inner work, which sometimes people are afraid to do!

Tyler: What do you think it is that people fear most, and what do you think is the secret to overcoming that fear?

PD: We took a survey in one class and people chose fear of failure and fear of rejection (public speaking was way up there too).

Basically, failure and rejection spell annihilation. This can be traced back to our earliest days on earth when rejection really DID mean annihilation. The Neanderthals banded together to face wild foes—and if they were rejected, or outcast, they would be destroyed in the wild.

There are many techniques to overcome fear—systematic desensitization (with the help of a professional counselor) is one.

Hypnotherapy has helped me overcome many of my fears of failure and rejection—for example during the process of writing “Back to the Garden” and stalled more than once, I used hypnotherapy to get jump-started.

Tyler: Is it true you are working on a workbook to go with the book?

PD: Yes, the workbook, as well as the series of DVDs, some of which are on my site at —and the CD Audiobook of selected chapters. Plus I now have individual chapters available as mp3 downloads on my website for only $.99 apiece!

Tyler: What kind of reaction have you received so far from readers?

PD: People who take the time to TELL me their reaction say they absolutely LOVE it. Several people have bought ten or more copies to give to all their friends and loved ones. They say they laugh and cry over the tales. No doubt there are plenty of people who kept their opinions to themselves!

I recently attended a party where a lovely woman whom I’d never met told me she periodically recycles all her books—but that mine is one of the few that she cherishes and intends to keep.

Lots of testimonials are on my website at

I also produce a complimentary Ezine called “Your Guide to the Life You Love” which comes out at the right time, on a regular basis; it’s filled with tools and tips, perspective shifts, and always some cool mind candy with that hopeful flavor! Folks can look at archived issues of the Ezine on the site.

There’s a complimentary Ebook as well, entitled “101 Simple Ways to Kick the Depression Habit & Get Happier Without Prozac”—I’ve used these very techniques more times than I can tell you to scrape myself up off the dirt and start all over again. Whenever I’m really down, I take a look at my book again and remind myself to just do some of the things I suggest!

Tyler: Patrice, what are your future projects, dreams and goals? Will there be more books?

PD: Right now I’m partnering on some fabulous transformational workshops; people can learn more about what I’m up to at . I’m also developing more uplifting electronic material like DVDs & mp3s.

As far as my next writing project, you know an author is never supposed to divulge what’s next—it’s like spilling the juju (wink!)

Tyler: Thank you for joining me today, Patrice. Before we go, would you tell our readers where they can find out more information about “Back to the Garden” and how they can purchase copies?

PD: It can be ordered at any bookstore, and if you really want to support the author, puh-leeze go to my website at! (Did you know that when you buy a book from Amazon, the author eventually gets maybe about a nickel?)

At my site, if you like you can subscribe to the complimentary Ezine “Your Guide to the Life You Love” with tools and tips, perspective shifts and Cool Mind Candy with that hopeful flavor! There’s also lots of articles and informative free interviews on the site if you’re looking for something uplifting right away.

I have some great specials going right now too, where people can get the book & CD combo for about 1/3 the bookstore price.

Tyler: Thanks, Patrice. I’m sure readers will visit your site to learn more. Thanks for being with us today and giving us such inspiration.


Readers laugh and cry as they get to know and love the people, places and things (including the ‘dirty magnolia tree’ in the author’s back yard) on this winding journey through her adventures, follies and heartaches. On the path from sorrow to joy, she makes herself vulnerable in order to extend a hand to those seeking to make sense of their lives. Helping people rise above shackles of complacency and lack of direction, the book’s honesty, clarity and spiritual insights are presented in an authentic, unique way, with humor and personality, wisdom and strength that are never overbearing. A beautifully written book; reading it is like visiting with a friend.


Back to the Garden: Reviewed by Lori Plach for Reader Views (9/07) Imagine coming to a beautiful garden. You need peace and tranquility. You desire to take in the beauty and peace of knowing that you are not there alone. You have entered a garden with many paths within its borders. Once visiting this garden, you will want to return often -- coming “Back to the Garden” is very simple -- all you need to do is open the pages of this book. Like in a garden, where the grass and flowers grow, you will grow when inside its pages. You will find the different paths to self-awareness, self-discovery and self-acceptance. You can be at peace with your thoughts. “Back to the Garden” is a collection of many different stories about people from a wide range of walks of life. These stories will encourage you and give you an opportunity to take on a different perspective. When you read some of these stories, you will find that others have fought incredible odds and won. Patrice Dickey has won numerous awards for her educational excellence. She shares how you can break from the shadows and come into the light of a happier life. With the many short stories in their own individual sections, you can come “Back to the Garden” and find just the morsel that will help you at any given time. This book is a must have for anyone who desires to feel true joy. Patrice Dickey has been truly blessed with a way of educating others into seeing the joy and contentment in life. She is very encouraging and helpful. Joy definitely flows throughout the pages and your life will seem different after being here. There is an accompanying CD by the same name where Patrice has selected stories so you can visit the garden when riding in your vehicle between appointments or anytime you need a pick-me-up. The garden gate is open. Read “Back to the Garden,” and come in and savor the time you have in this beautiful place!

non-fiction, self-help, health, women's issues, recovery, inspirational, reference, memoir, wellness

About Me

Author Portrait

Even while active in other careers, much of Patrice Dickey's "real" life has revolved around helping people lift themselves up to lead happier, more self-aware and fulfilled lives, in essence, as "Your Guide to the Life You Love."

In writing and launching BACK TO THE GARDEN, she leapt out from a highly successful 20-year public relations career to share her stories about life in workshops and classes that enrich people's understanding of why they are here and what they can give back.

In 1999 she created 'Art of Positive Change' for Emory University's Center for Lifelong Learning. A few years into leading this popular course she recognized that no one really wants to change, but EVERYONE wants to live a life they love, so the class evolved into Get the Life You Love. Self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-respect and self-love are its foundation principles.

When class participants asked, "What's next?" she tapped into her 15-year background as an award-winning instructor of the demanding Dale Carnegie Sales Training. She earned Registered Corporate Coach (World Association of Business Coaching), Qualified Myers Briggs Type Indicator (CAPT) and Registered Yoga Teacher designations to help clients deepen their understanding of who they are and how they can make simple, positive life shifts. Coaching clients, workshop and class participants consistently rate her highly for workable solutions and a dynamic, engaging style.

A journalism/English honors graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she is invited to review some of the world’s top spas for les nouvelles esthetiques & spa, the leading skincare and spa trade publication in the U.S. She also regularly contributes articles to national and regional publications on wellness and health.

“I set my intentions, visualize, and take action. You too can Get the Life You Love. Your moment of power is now!”


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