#230 Give the Gift of Your Favorite Book

Sharing things we love is good for our spirit. When we give away something we enjoy, we share a bit of ourselves as we hand over the material item.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#230

Give the Gift of Your Favorite Book

Yesterday I suggested that you re-read your favorite book and if you take me up on that suggestion…. Great! I hope you enjoy. Afterwards – or in the event that you don’t want to re-read it – write a note about why the book stands out in your mind, tuck it inside and give it to a friend (without giving away the ending).

Sharing Is Good

You might share why you are giving this particular book to that particular person. Is there something about the story that reminds you of her/him, or the relationship  you have with them? Is there something else that you think resonates within the story? Sharing things we love is good for our spirit. When we give away something we enjoy, we share a bit of ourselves as we hand over the material item.

Connections

This gesture is a small example of how we might foster social connections. Sharing is an integral part of connecting with others. Research tells us that when we share, the pleasure centers of our brain are activated – the same areas that turn on when we eat food that we enjoy or have sex. Because we take time to step outside of ourselves – out of our selfish perspective – we may also improve elements of depression or anxiety.

Kindness

Perhaps the best benefit of all is that we promote kindness which, is known to be one of those things that create forward ripples; kindness begets kindness. Not to mention that the gesture promotes reading. You may never know what goodness happens after you…

Give the gift of your favorite book.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#231 Re-read your Favorite Book

This suggestion is one of those things that we don’t think of often, perhaps a quick and easy way to get your mind off daily stressors and into an imaginary world that you are familiar with.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#231

Re-read your favorite book

What is your favorite fiction book? When did you read it? Why is it your favorite? Would you enjoy reading it again?

The Favorites

In my late teen years I read ‘The Thornbirds’ and to this day, I remember being enthralled by the generational story. Later, I read and loved Michener’s ‘Chesapeake’ and again, I remember the ending as clearly as if I had just finished it because it was so vividly depicted. And then there were the Fern Michaels trilogies that told of cousins in various parts of the country; stories that, to this day, are remembered and thought of as if they could be real people in real time in Texas, Las Vegas, or Kentucky.

Re-runs

Why is it that we watch favorite movies over and over, or television series – how many times have you watched the same ‘Friends’ episode – but rarely read a book a second time through? Summer is a great time to visit the library and check out that book that you remember loving from a long time ago. Did you ever pick up Sidney Sheldon’s ‘Master of the Game’?… it’s another of those memorable fiction stories that stuck in my mind because of the intense graphic visual that came to my mind as I read the words.

Comfort Zone

This suggestion is one of those things that we don’t think of often, perhaps a quick and easy way to get your mind off daily stressors and into an imaginary world that you are familiar with. Re-reading a book you’ve enjoyed in the past means you’ll go directly into a ‘happy place’ without the struggle of making it past the first few chapters as can happen in some stories. Do yourself a favor and take some time for simple enjoyment this summer and …

Re-read your favorite book.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#275 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

…I don’t have the space or quite simply, the desire to physically save all the books I’ve ever read. Using the library lets me have the benefit of holding a book, turning its pages, and then trading it for another.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#275

Go to the Library

Do you still have a library card? When was the last time you stepped into that building, filled with rows and rows of actual books?

You don’t have to be an avid reader to enjoy a library. It’s often a great space – library’s smell good. The perfume of paper and bindings is unique and quite distinct. It’s representative somewhat of an era that is almost bygone by some standards. A traditional library typically has some comfy reading spots, quiet corners, and plenty of work room for anyone studying, writing, or researching. It would be sad if we allowed these public spaces to wither away and evaporate from existence from lack of use now that books are electronic and delivered at home the next day.

 

Libraries are fantastic places for exploring. It’s a physical source for information on just about anything and yes, the same data is available with a few keystrokes online but a real book… holding a book, turning the pages, and perusing the content – literally – has its own appeal.

For kids, libraries are an entirely different type of playground. All the books in a series are typically available. Instead of just one or two Cat-In-The-Hat books… the entire collection is available in a library. Likewise with Llama Llama, Frog & Toad, or Magic Tree House, reading the full anthology is easily achieved when checking books out from the library. Kids get to experiment with stories and authors before committing to big purchases.

I’ve occasionally fallen in love with the way a particular author writes and find that going to a library lets me follow the journey that the writer by reading everything they publish. There are also some books that are enjoyable to read but keeping them forever may be overkill. As an avid reader, I don’t have the space or quite simply, the desire to physically save all the books I’ve ever read. Using the library lets me have the benefit of holding a book, turning its pages, and then trading it for another.

I know, I know… borrowing real books means that you have to return them and in our busy lives, that’s just one extra thing you add to your busy list. More than a few times I accrued a sizable fine for not getting there in a timely fashion but I considered it a donation to a great cause!! I thought of it as my own way to support the library system. In the long run it was still far less expensive than buying all those book. Treat yourself and/or your kids this summer and …

Go to the Library.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Maia Habegger on Unsplash

#282 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Not that there isn’t a place for reading that style of book – they’re light and fluffy… perfect if you want a quick, easy solution for fun-in-the sun (sans electronic) entertainment.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#282

Read a ‘beach’ book

Sometimes we just need a break and that’s why we go to the beach and often, when we get there, we read a random book – something easy and relaxing. However, not all of us can get to a beach so my recommendation then, is to let yourself read a ‘beach book’. You know – it’s one of those – sometimes known as ‘junk novels’ – a book without critic acclaim, perhaps not even a solid plot.  It’s one of those easy to read, easy to absorb, and easy to finish books.

Romance Novels are the obvious choice for a lady’s poolside read and the variety exists along the continuum of Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steele (with solid plots) or to the other end with a good ole fashioned Harlequin Romance type of read that shakes out the storyline in the first forty pages and becomes predictable half way through. Not that there isn’t a place for reading that style of book – they’re light and fluffy… perfect if you want a quick, easy solution for fun-in-the sun (sans electronic) entertainment.

I’ve never known a man to be interested in romance novels – my thoughts about ‘beach books’ for men are similar but oriented more toward spies and zombies. My intent, of course is not to be sexist here as I completely acknowledge that those genres are not gender biased by any means and that there is a man (or many), that I simply have yet to meet that truly gets into a Nora Roberts novel.

So, the season is upon us now with this Memorial Day post and many of us are simply ready for some physical and mental R&R… put down the academic journals, the textbooks, the self-help bibles, and the heavy duty winter reading books that make you think about the world in a new way and pick up something less intense, less thought provoking, and less educational for your outdoor relaxation time…

Read a ‘beach book’.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#350 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

The brief disruption from stressors allow our mind and body a ‘break’ … a mental nap of sorts. It provides an opportunity for reset, which is proven to increase our overall sense of well-being

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#350

Read Fiction

Yesterday I wrote about keeping a self-help book on your nightstand and incorporate reading them as an integral part of your constant personal growth. Today, I am suggesting that you need to mix it up a little. At the core of my suggestion is the inclusion of ‘trash’ fiction; you know – the stories that may or may not be terribly well written but in a weird way, take you into another mental space free of any daily life stressors. The stories that whisk you away to far away islands or planets in another galaxy.

It may be a national best seller or on an obscure list of sci-fi thrillers. It could be an epic trilogy based on real historical events or an unrealistic saga of Zombie rampage. No matter the genre, fiction has a way of whisking us onto a different plateau where reality is temporarily displaced, and our imagination can run amok.

A good story not only allows for us to step out of our lives momentarily, it helps us to foster empathy as we are transported into the perspective of a character who lives and thinks differently than us. Additionally, it creates a space where we can imagine ourselves interacting with a variety of circumstances and personalities; potentially improving our own relationships.

The brief disruption from stressors allow our mind and body a ‘break’ … a mental nap of sorts. It provides an opportunity for reset, which is proven to increase our overall sense of well-being. It quiets our mind by distracting us from our daily grind. Reading fiction before bed is indicated for people with insomnia. Reading fiction opens our mind to creativity by stimulating our imagination. It fosters our ability to produce mental images and it builds our vocabulary.

Dust off your library card, download Audible, and/or charge your Kindle and spend a little time with this one daily goal…

Read Fiction

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo on Foter.com

#351 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

I would pick up the book and without reading the cover, I would open it haphazardly and read what was there. IF it resonated, even slightly, I considered it.

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#351

Self-help books on the nightstand

Heraclitis, a Greek philosopher stated “Change is the only constant in life” – a quote you’ve probably seen a hundred times as you moved into adulthood. We know it to be true and some of us experience an unequal amount of change through the course of our lives. Typically, I find that we attribute this quote to external things; our jobs, our environment, our friends, perhaps spouses… Rarely do I find that people are introspecting about personal change.

Unless of course, they are of the ‘self-help’ mindset and/or focused on their mental health as a habit. I’d love to encourage everyone to adopt a ‘self-help’ mentality – in part so that we each take personal responsibility for our actions, reactions, relationships, and lives. The broader part though is that we too, are always changing and if we are not doing so in awareness, we get caught off guard.

Keeping a ‘self-help’ book on your nightstand or in your kindle/e-reader will help you stay present with where you are and what you are thinking. If doesn’t have to be heavy duty stuff all the time. It can be a book of inspiring quotes that reminds you of the progress you’ve already made. It can be a bible that reinforces your faith (yes, I put the bible in a ‘self-help’ category).

I’ve been known to have a stack; a variety of books on a variety of topics – all designed to make me ‘think’ about myself and my life below the surface of where I am living it. Some books are the kind that I am reading from beginning to end – perhaps slowly so that I can absorb new ideas as I go along. A few are the kind that I can just open randomly and benefit from the words on that arbitrary page. Others are ones that I began but didn’t connect with right away and they’ve gone to the bottom of the pile for future contemplation.

I don’t pick self-help books – I let them pick me. In the days that I began my collection, I would peruse the personal development and/or the spirituality section of the bookstore; allowing my eyes to roam across the titles like a gentle wave until something specific caught my attention. Once it did, I would pick up the book and without reading the cover, I would open it haphazardly and read what was there. IF it resonated, even slightly, I considered it. I still use that method, but I buy half as many bound books these days as I’ve fallen in love with Audible and the ability to listen no matter what I am doing. I often listen to books over music and find that I’m ‘reading’ more than ever with this option available to me.

I will caveat this idea with the warning that one can ‘overload’ on information and it’s equally important to allow yourself to step back from ‘self-improvement’ from time to time so that the things you’ve learned can take root. Personal growth is best accomplished the way we physically grow – in spurts with solidifying periods in between. I found the best way to keep myself motivated along the way is to have…

Self-help books on the nightstand.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Soulful Expedition

I was new at this – new at thinking of life as something that could teach me, help me even when I felt so much pain.

Continued from Splitting Delusions

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ~ Buddha

Going back to school was only one of many decisions I made in the first couple of months’ post-decision day. I had to jump through a few hoops, gathering all the twenty-five-year-old transcripts from the five years I was in college as a young gal. I was told that anything with a C+ or better would transfer if there was a matching class. In total, 90 credits transferred which was amazing, leaving me to finish two years of psychology classes and French…  Since I was shooting for a Bachelor of Arts, I had to take four semesters of a foreign language. Ugh! I had taken French in High School and for two semesters way back when – in college so why not… maybe some of it would come back to me. I still remembered how to count.

Taking classes was a great idea – in theory. However, I wanted to make sure that I would succeed so to garner an appropriate measure of my ability to successfully navigate college in middle age, I opted to take Statistics first. I wanted to schedule it over a ‘May-mester” … three weeks of daily class between the Spring and Summer session. I figured if I could master Statistics (which I had dropped as a nineteen-year-old because I was certain I was failing) then I would keep going. I registered for the class and kept my fingers crossed.

In the meantime, the girls needed something to look forward to as it was feeling heavy and dark at home. We were all at dinner one evening… the three of them and me. I suggested that we plan a great vacation and they got excited. “Where do you want to go?” I asked.  “Disney!” “A cruise” “The Caribbean” … they shouted simultaneously and in non-agreement. Hmmm…. “what about a Disney Cruise?” I asked. Immediately there were smiles and hugs – a lifting of spirit that warmed my heart to an exquisite simmer of happiness. The temporary relief of change and uncertainty was welcomed by each one of us as we sat there and made plans to make it happen. We agreed that I would stop having the house cleaned once a week; the girls would take responsibility for clean bathrooms, dusting, vaccuming, etc., and we would redirect that money into our cruise fund. Their dad and I have always been strong proponents of fiscal accountability; also, believing that something earned is often more deeply appreciated. We agreed to create a special ‘envelope’ where we would accumulate funds and they were excited and eager to get home and decorate it. We sat together to research our options and set the date for January 2006 – we had twelve months to make it happen.

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My extended family was in an uproar. It was no longer a secret that Hubby and Abee had been indiscriminate. Our poor mother was still disbelieving and after listening to everything else I had discovered, she decided that ‘hate’ was the only thing she could feel. I can’t imagine how she must have felt watching her children divide, take sides, and disconnect from one another. A mother has so many dreams for her children and we were definitely not fulfilling the fantasy she envisioned. For almost a year she had watched and attempted to console one daughter while trying to direct another. We had allowed her to accept a promise of remediation and now, it was done. I was unwilling to consider any direction that allowed for the possibility of more philandering and emotional upheaval in my life.

On what would have been my fifteenth wedding anniversary, mom and I spent the day together shopping and exploring a neighboring county that was full of farmland and quaint villages. We were doing one of her favorite things to do – driving and exploring as was I… spending time with mom. I had stopped working by then. Our company was the brainchild of Hubby and mine. It was the cumulation of a dream that we had manifested through the years via long, deep conversations, relentless pursuit, and grave concessions. I had learned to cook hamburger – literally – one hundred and one different ways as we poured our profits back into the business. I scoured yard sales and consignment shops for children’s clothing so that we could buy office furniture for new employees. It was as much my dream at that point as it was his but I couldn’t go there every day and see them together; he wouldn’t fire her. I gave him an ultimatum… she had to go – or I would.

Had it been a mistake last year when I first found out about them? Should I have just bit the bullet then and said ‘good riddance’?? Had I been a simplistic fool to think that we could have risen from such a calamity? I guess it didn’t matter – it was impossible to turn back the clock and it was bigger and so much more complicated than a familial trespass. I perceived that my only choice was to rely on the ideology that was cementing in my soul … that each of us has a journey to walk; our own path. I continued to allow myself comfort in reading.

Another significantly profound book, one that will forever be implanted in my memory is Messages from the Masters: Tapping Into the Power of Love by Dr. Brian Weiss. With practically every page turn I related to his words, reputedly words spoken by Master Souls while his patients were under hypnosis. Here again – the exact origin becomes unimportant, inconsequential to the substance that was presented.  I read “forgive the past, it is over. Learn from it and let go.” … like I had never heard that before…

This time, however, it had true meaning. I read “come from the heart, the true heart, not the head. When in doubt, choose the heart. …when the intuition rings clear and true, loving impulses are favored.” I realized that many of my recent actions had been driven by anger and disgust. When I did talk to Hubby, accusations and attacks dominated my communication. I needed to choose a different tactic, one more consistent with the person I wanted to be today… someone who could love through difficulty. This task was way, way harder than it sounds. I struggled almost hour by hour to stay in a ‘love’ place and frankly, I failed more often than not. I was new at this – new at thinking of life as something that could teach me, help me even when I felt so much pain.

In a strange way, it helped to have mom be angrier than me. She was incredibly ugly, spiteful, hateful and it was so contrary to her normal, true self that when she talked to me sometimes, I was taken aback. Mom was loving and gentle 99.99% of the time but in this case, the father of my children had behaved in a way that splintered her family – her children into a bazillion pieces… and as such, she was inconsolably fractured. I found myself defending him, not his behavior but him – as a person… I tried to share my new (to me) theories with her, speaking about loving people – all people – and understanding that they are each taking their own soulful expedition.

Basically, she told me it was bullshit.