self-care

For the love of library books

I love to borrow books from the library: ones that inspire me to keep on learning; that expose me to new authors, and I love to try new recipes from the many vegan cookbooks available to borrow.  There’s a recommendation bookshelf at our local library that I like to check out.  That’s where I found Gabriel Bernstein’s “May Cause Miracles,” Austin Kleon’s “How to Steal Like an Artist,” and Carrie Bloomston’s “The Little Spark.”  Now I follow Gabriel Bernstein’s work and have bought most of her books.  I even attended a workshop she led earlier this year.

Last week I found “We: A Manifesto For Women Everywhere” by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel. The inside jacket read, “How much more effective and powerful would we all be if we replaced comparison with collaboration, cooperation and compassion?”  I was intrigued.  There are four essential practices that lay as a foundation for the nine principles in the book.

I am starting to incorporate the essential practices into my daily life: gratitude, gentleness, responsibility, and meditation.  I acknowledge that I’m just starting.  Doing the practices with perfection is not possible or attainable.  Perfectionism has been a roadblock of resistance for me.   I get so enthusiastic when I find a new book and gung-ho to follow the program.   And then I get sidetracked and that energy fizzles.  Or I absolutely love the library book, but once I actually purchase it, the interest has waned.  I believe there’s magic in holding a hard-cover book.  If I buy the soft-cover version, I instinctively know that there’s something missing.  Maybe it’s the texture of the pages or the weight of the book.  For example, in Dani Shapiro’s “Still Writing,” the book had thick paper with rough edges.  It had an earthy feel to it.  When I bought the paperback, it felt neutered and too perfectly smooth.  I was disappointed and couldn’t continue where I left off from the library one.  I seriously want to replace it with the original hard cover.

But I don’t feel that “We” is a program with concrete steps and rules. A manifesto is a declaration.  And the principles are the guideposts.  Although the nine principles should be done in order, it feels fluid and organic.  I can approach each one on my own terms.  There’s no set deadline or sense of urgency.

To help me incorporate the practices, I created a summary for ease of reference, so I don’t have to flip through the book for the main points. Although it seems like a lot to tackle, and I’m feeling a sense of overwhelm, I equally feel the desire, the necessity, and power and potential for change that is needed in today’s world.  To start, I have decided to focus on one essential practice a week, while incorporating the ones before it.  Then I feel I can move through the principles authentically.

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This week I’m focusing on gratitude.  I pasted the summary I created from the book below:

“When we focus on gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.” Kristin Armstrong, Olympic gold medal cyclist

Daily:

(Keep a small notebook or space in your journal for your gratitude list. Use it as a spiritual remedy to either kick-start your day or get a restful night’s sleep.  And you can always refer to it halfway through your day if you need an instant hit of positivity)

  1. Write down ten things in your life right now that you’re grateful for (find at least one thing you’re grateful to your body for)
  2. Read it back to yourself aloud and say, “Thank you for …..” to each item on the list.

Action: Today I will notice all the nice things that happen, and I will say thank you. (Find ways to say thank you to your body through your actions)

Affirmation: I am lucky, and I am blessed.  My life is full of wonder.

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I would love to meet up and chat with other women as they are working through the book. I am going to blog my progress in a later post to check in.  My hope is to inspire other women to join me as we “replace unhealthful habits with a more positive, peaceful, and rewarding way of living.”

Will you join me on this journey?

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