to the moon and back:
a childhood under the influence
Coming September 18, 2018
Lisa Kohn’s memoir of being raised in and torn between two conflicting, bipolar worlds. There was the world she longed for and lived in on weekends – her mother’s world, which was the fanatical, puritanical cult of the Moonies – and the world she was forced to live in during the week – her father’s world, which was based in sex, drugs, and the squalor of life in the 1970’s in the East Village of New York City.
I was raised in and torn between two conflicting, bipolar worlds. There was the world I longed for and lived in on weekends – my mother’s world, which was the fanatical, puritanical cult of the Moonies – and the world I was forced to live in during the week – my father’s world, which was based in sex and drugs and the squalor of life in the East Village of New York City.
I am the child of hippie parents and the product of a “broken marriage.” I was immersed in the “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll” culture of the 1960s and early 1970s. My parents took me to the Jefferson Airplane free concert in Central Park and Woodstock (the movie, not the festival) by the time I was nine. By the time I was ten, I was a devotee of Rev. Moon – the self-proclaimed Messiah and leader of one of the most infamous cults – spending my weekends standing on a wooden box in New York City’s then seedy Times Square, shouting through a bullhorn, trying to save the sea of sinners around me.
People who meet me now have no idea of my eclectic background. Not only have I survived my childhood, but I thrive. I am blessed with a happy marriage of over twenty years, two amazing children, and a successful leadership consulting and coaching practice.
In so many ways, because of my past I now have my today. I learned, through my journey, that it’s up to each of us to create the life we want. Some of us may have more to overcome in order to do that, but it still is up to us. We have the chance and the choice. We have the ability. Even when we think we don’t.
I learned to build a very different life for myself than what I knew as a child, and to integrate my childhood experiences into my life – doing my best to find and keep the valuable while letting go of the rest. I faced at least some of my demons, and found ways to laugh or love them at least somewhat away. I can now look back on my past with a sense of humor and unexpected appreciation, and rejoice in my present.
I bring all I experienced and learned to my coaching and consulting work, helping others find their way to the life they want and deserve. I also bring it all to to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence.
My intention in writing the book has been to find another way to offer hope and potential joy to others who may feel beaten or damaged by their upbringing or circumstances, and I therefore chronicle my unconventional childhood, my self-destructive early 20s, and my challenges, peace, and healing today. If by telling my story I can help others find their own path, it has all been worth it.
You really need to read this book, because it’s awesome.Jenny Lawson
Lisa Kohn shows us in her powerful memoir that it is possible to find peace and contentment despite having a rocky, unstable and often confusing childhood.Madeleine Black
Lisa’s story is riveting, redeeming and oh so inspiring. I couldn’t put it down.Cheryl Rice
Lisa Kohn offers a personal perspective about life and love within the Unification Church. It’s a heartfelt examination of what it’s like to be kid growing up in a ‘cult.’ And about difficulties with family, friends, and adolescence that are often complicated and exacerbated by groups called cults due to their dramas and dynamics. Often when former members from such groups write about their personal journey and recovery it can potentially enlighten everyone who reads it. Accounts like Lisa Kohn’s are a necessary ingredient for our collective education because they give us an inside view that only an ex-member can provide.Rick Ross
Lisa Kohn writes with an honesty that will grip you immediately and take you on her harrowing, expansive, journey. You won’t be able to help yourself. You’ll be compelled to read her fascinating story—which will entertain, discomfort, and broaden you—and you’ll be better for it. She is a fierce, true spirit, who finds her way past anything childhood threw at her—including fanatical cults, confusing love, and life in the dangerous East Village—and makes us see that healing and finding your own ground is always possible.Tama Kieves
One person’s crazy cult is another one’s sanctuary. When you are a child from a broken home and that person is your mother (so deep into being a Moonie that you are best friends with the leader’s kids), and your father is a party-hearty hippie bartender, a lifetime of confusion, and more, is sure to follow. Kohn’s long and twisted journey to make sense of it all will have you quickly thinking ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ and marveling at the resilience of the human spirit.Jo Maeder
to the moon and back is a wild and honest ride that makes sense of complex and sometimes painful experiences with heart, grit, and courage. Lisa’s energy, infectious positivity, and transparency about her own life journey and all its twists and turns will inspire any woman who’s looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.Kelly McNelis
Wow. What a read. I truly had trouble putting it down.Catherine Gilbert Murdoch
What a read. An inside look at the moonies the cult we heard about ages ago and thought was too far out to be real. Well, I guess it’s real and far out but not in a good way. This was so well written it was hard to put down and hard to believe.Dawn W.