[W]e are changed by what we read. Close that book, and you are not the same person anymore. Because of what you just read, your worldview–your understanding, your compassion for others, your ability to engage intelligently with others–has expanded a little. Books help us grow…. – Pat Williams
Reading is a great way to instigate change within you. As you read, new ideas are presented which can give you new perspectives on old topics.
The simple act of reading can ignite the imagination and take you to places you’ve never been before. I’m talking about places within you. New ideas, opinions, concepts, beliefs and actions can flood your mind. Some of them may upset old habits of thought or introduce completely new twists.
Whether you accept or reject the new ideas isn’t important. What’s important is that your mind is being exposed to the new items. Neurons in your brain are making new connections expanding your ability to think overall. Creative urges will surface seemingly from nowhere. Some you will act on and others you’ll only think about.
Go read. It doesn’t really matter what you choose but be open to new experiences and trains of thought.
It amazes me when the right book comes to me just when I need it. Last week a friend recommended Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat. Pray. Love. I had read the reviews and walked by it in bookstores for months, thinking that I would probably like it, but when I received the recommendation last week, I was particularly desperate for advice about reaching out to God.
For those of you who haven’t read it–and I strongly recommend that you do–Gilbert opens the book sobbing on the floor of her bathroom, desperate for guidance about whether to leave her marriage. She asks God for help, and receives a clear answer back. The answer is, “Go to bed, Elizabeth,” and what she writes about this is that she recognizes it as wisdom. “True wisdom,” Gilbert writes, “gives the only possible answer at any given moment” (p. 16).
It’s a great definition. Typically I expect that real insight will allow me to solve all of my problems at once. I know this is ridiculous when I am being rational, but suffering has a way of making me want to know everything all at once. Gilbert’s reminder that we only need to know the best next step strikes me as great advice, both because we can only take one step at a time, and also because it reminds us to narrow our focus on a problem to the tiny portion of it that we can handle right away.
Brilliant. (Plus, the rest of the book is funny and charming.)
What a magical full moon this Taurus moon has turned out to be. I had a bit of a let down last week. I had booked on a goddess belly dancing weekend over this full moon. It was going to be an amazing spiritual weekend full of setting intention for our goals, dancing, staying in bell caravans and hanging out with lots of beautiful women!!
I saw it as my weekend away from everything – my long awaited holiday – but I was too attached and I knew it. Needless to say last week the organiser texted me to tell me she was ill and the weekend was cancelled. I was gutted but on some other level I knew something special would happen instead. And of course it did.
My grandpa is dying of cancer and we are very close. Instead of going away I was able to visit him with my brother and sister and give him an energy healing (I have been giving him energy healings for a long time and it has helped him so much just receiving the love). Just being there helped to heal me in some way, as well. My siblings and I then went to my mum’s for dinner which was a great way to celebrate the full moon. Later that evening I visited an old friend who is experimenting with sound healing.
He has found the frequencies that can heal the human body with sound. He has set up speakers and I sat in the direct line of the sound. It is a very intense experience but I felt as though I was in a bath of resonance. I could feel the vibrations wash over me and very soon I was off on a beautiful meditational vision journey. I saw solutions to many challenges that are facing me at this time and got clear on direction for my new website and blog.
Then I slept over at my mum’s and today we finally spent the day together that has been planned for months. We often don’t see eye to eye but we had so much fun today and really found a meeting place. It was a special evening and a special day and I got A LOT of hugs.
I am really beginning to surf the synchronistic chaos and no longer judging why things do not happen because something even greater is around the corner. More than ever I am seeing that as one dream dies another is coming true. The key is not to be too attached to what the external video is playing because it is ALL wonderful – whatever happens and however difficult things may seem in the moment.
Often we do not see the possibilities that are available to us as we do not possess the eagle’s vision. All we have to do is trust that EVERYTHING is happening perfectly and all we need to do is enjoy every moment, whatever it may bring…
It’s Tuesday morning and I am working on cup of tea #2. The sun is barely peeking up, so the sky is a grey-ish color. It’s light enough out to be able to see how the leaves have drastically changed color in the last week and are more on the ground than in the trees.
The garden is harvested. The last part, garlic and potatoes, sitting in a box in the kitchen. The pumpkins left from the pumpkin party are in the yard, scattered like litter. They are white, yellow and orange and stacking them together might be a good idea. Minus their treasures, the pumpkin vines are wilting and it looks like last night might have been our first frost. The tomato plants continue to give red*yellow*orange tomatoes, however I wander off and quit looking for them. Isn’t that funny? At some point, the garden loses its appeal and I’m ready for it to be done, while plans for next year’s garden evolve in my brain. Looking ahead, I’m missing out on the fact that I can still eat the tomatoes now. That’s not too unusual and I doubt I’m the only person who misses out on what is right in front of me because I’m looking ahead, past fall (golden, red, brilliant leaves), past winter (hibernation, snow shoes, skiing) to spring when the earth is renewed.
Excuse me for leaving. I need to go look for tomatoes to eat with my morning cups of tea.
Nine requisites for contented living:
Health enough to make work a pleasure.
Wealth enough to support your needs.
Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them.
Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.
Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.
Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor.
Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others.
Faith enough to make real the things of God.
Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wow! Brilliant advice. I think reading these lines would be a great way to start everyday.
In fact, I’m going to start in the morning. I like the positive perspective I get thinking about these simple but powerful concepts.
ABC’s – Read, study and learn about everything important in your life
Actually, from “Women at Heart / Word of Heart” I got something that fit for this so well. I have included that below. I can say, that once you find your “true center” the “struggle” goes away. And true understanding and happiness starts.
Educator John Holt contended that learning is a natural process that happens to anyone who is busy doing something real for its own sake. We don’t have to be taught how to learn. We begin learning about life in the womb and if we remain curious, we never stop.
A young student, Jamaal M. Watson, has offered a beautiful new twist to the concept of education: “Each of us has a one-of-a-kind identity – just as we all have one-of-a-kind fingerprints – and what education means is to develop that unique personality so that we each know who we are. Self-discovery is at the bottom of being somebody real. …To discover yourself and find your path through life, you need to have lots of firsthand experiences, mostly on your own in tough situations. It doesn’t do much good to get these experiences second hand from books.”
“You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. – Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings)
Gandalf’s quote in The Fellowship of the Ring is one of my all time favorites. He (Tolkien) succinctly summarizes what our one decision is at all times. Oh, but what a complex and rich decision that can be.
Many of us have trouble making decisions. I once dealt with that struggle also. What’s funny to me is that by not making a decision, it always defaults to something and probably not anything you will really like. For me, not making decisions was a self-esteem problem. I was more concerned with what others would think of me based on the decision I may or may not make. It was easier to hide behind not making a decision than to face confrontation.
But, now the majority of my decisions are based on what will make me happy. I’ve decided now to spend my time doing things I enjoy and can have fun with. That thought process goes all the way down to mundane things like cleaning the dishes and etc. There are many times I’m happier doing the dishes in the morning instead of the evening. I just go with whatever I’m feeling at the time.
So, when you make the decision on what to do with the time you are given, make sure it is meaningful for you.
Linda Gregg’s latest volume of poetry, In the Middle Distance, continues to amaze me as I re-read it. My teacher, Natalie, recommended it to me, and she is right to think it beautiful. Many of the poems describe the speaker’s experience of living in the desert in Texas. What is beautiful is often lonely.
Except that what Gregg writes in the poem called “Fragments” is, “Beauty has a strangeness.” Beauty can be strange on many levels, not just in the way it sometimes takes you by surprise, as with a little dog so ugly it is adorable, or in the way a person who is old and misshapen appears soulful and transcendent.
Beauty can also be strange in making itself known where it appears to have no place. This is the beauty I find myself celebrating recently. I am struck by small items that I see on the ground outside–a pine cone, a flower killed by the frost, a bit of paper caught in the branches of a tree. When the light catches them right, and if I am in the mood to find a disconnected piece of nothing more than what it is, then I determine that there is a great power at work in the universe.
Ms. Gregg’s poems are just the kind of reminder I need to see these small beauties again.
It’s sad to think of a week as something to get through, as if there were entire days of my life I am willing to give back. And yet there are times that are just like that. This week, in fact, I didn’t sleep much and staggered through the last few days, worried that I wasn’t giving anything my best shot.
This morning in the car I asked myself why I’m ok just to pass the time. I don’t yet have an answer, but I heard a radio show on the way home, Tom Ashbrook’s On Point, on which Charlie LeDuff discussed his book US Guys. LeDuff, a Pulitzer prize-winning former NYTimes reporter, traveled the US for a year and wrote about how average American men find their lives.
Like me, many are looking for meaning and wrestle with a seeming distance between their expectations and the ordinary challenges they face. LeDuff has a raspy voice, a dazzling need to get to the bottom of how people feel, and a great knack for storytelling. The conversation drew in as callers a very different type of man from the show’s usual audience. I really recommend you listen to the show. There a just lots of guys out there who find their adult lives a tough slog, despite having jobs, families, and entertainment.
I think we are more starved for meaning and purpose than we even admit. LeDuff kept returning to basic values. Although “life is messy and complicated, and self-loathing and funny,” he recommends listening to your mother, going back to church, treating people with kindness and respect, and living within your means.
There is always more, always better. It’s just that the more may have to do with creating more rather than acquiring it.