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I loved reading about how introversion is not currently valued by our society and how we became a country that values extroversion; how values such as character and integrity were overtaken by confidence and movie-star magnetism.; and how we’ve turned extraversion into a standard to which everyone must perform.
“Introversion, along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness, is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.
“As a child, you might have heard your parents apologize for your shyness… or at school, you might have been prodded to come ‘out of your shell,’ that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go and that some humans are just the same.”
“Now that you’re an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book.”
“I have seen firsthand how difficult it is for introverts to take stock of their own talents and how powerful it is when finally they do.”
“Our current society seems to place a premium on the aggressive person, ‘the go-getter.’”
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Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman
A quick and fun read about living life to the fullest. Hoffman wrote this as a heartfelt guide to life because she went through a cancer diagnosis and treatment and could not find a book that helped her through it. It’s about what matters most.
From her introduction: “There is a very thin line that separates readers and writers. You make a leap over that line when there’s a book you want to read and you can’t find it and you have to write it yourself.”
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The Invention of Wings: A Novel by Sue Monk Kidd
What a passionate book this is! I was immersed right away and had several late nights with it. It tells the story of pre-Civil War Charleston from the points of view of Sarah Grimke (who, with her sister, dedicates her life to the abolition of slavery and women’s rights) and Handful, a slave of the family. Both women are trapped inside lives that can’t contain them. The story is perfectly paced and I couldn’t put it down. There were many passages I copied down because they were written so eloquently and poignantly. I cannot recommend this book enough for it’s personal way of telling it’s story and because it found its way into my heart.
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Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe
This is the first book that I’ve listened to on CD since, well, since before there were CDs! I still call it “books on tape.” All I can say about this book is that it’s laugh-out-loud funny and very engaging. Knowing how his life has turned out (thus far), I find it fun to listen to his early challenges and his humorous stories of making his first movie, “The Outsiders.” His descriptions (and impersonations) of his fellow actors are spot-on. Best, Rob Lowe is humble and easy to relate to. He’s candid, relatable, and such a great writer. I’m looking forward to his new book, Love Life, coming out in April.
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Courageous Souls: Do We Plan Our Life Challenges Before Birth? by Robert Schwartz
Courageous Souls (now out of print but reissued under the new title, Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born) explores the premise that we are all eternal souls who plan our lives and our challenges before we are born for the purpose of spiritual growth. We are eternal souls living in this physical body and using our time here to evolve. When we realize that we planned our life’s challenges in order to evolve and grow, suffering is no longer without purpose. We can find meaning, wisdom, and peace from every experience.
You can’t help but wonder… what on earth am I here to learn/do/be?
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Conscious Community: A Guide to Inner Work by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira
Rabbi Shapira was a Rebbe in Poland who buried this manuscript before he was taken by the Germans in the Holocaust. This was found after the war and translated. In it, Reb Kalonymus teaches the art of self-observation and running a spiritual community. It consists of detailed guidance on Jewish mindfulness. He writes eloquently about deepening the holiness within each of us.” Anytime we feel deeply, we are dealing with the soul.”
This is my second time reading this book. I was prompted to pick it up because I’m learning about similar issues in class I’m taking and have been wondering what Judaism teaches about the soul.
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Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsh
“This book addresses most, if not all, of the questions you have ever asked about life and love, purpose and function, people and relationships, good and evil guilt and sin, forgiveness and redemption, the path to God and the road to hell… everything.”
“In the moment of your total knowing (which moment could come upon you at anytime), you, too, will feel as I do always: totally joyful, loving, accepting, blessing, and grateful.”
This is why I no longer get as worked up by other people and their crazy antics:
“Your potential is unlimited in all that you’ve chosen to do. Do not assume that a soul which has incarnated in a body which you call limited has not reached its full potential, for you do not know what the soul was trying to do. You do not understand its agenda… Therefore, bless every person and condition, and give thanks. Thus you affirm the perfection of God’s creation, for nothing happens by accident in God’s world, and there is no such think as coincidence. If a snowflake is utterly perfect in its design, do you not think the same could be said about something as magnificent as your life?”
This one too:
“Each soul is a Master — though some do not remember their origins or their heritages. Yet each creates the situation and the circumstance for its own highest purpose and its own quickest remembering — in each moment called now. Judge not, then, the karmic path walked by another. Envy not success, nor pity failure, for you know not what is success or failure in the soul’s reckoning. Call not a thing calamity, nor joyous event, until you decide, or witness, how it is used. For is a death a calamity if it saves the lives of thousands? And is a life a joyous event if it has caused nothing but grief? Yet even this you should not judge…”
For me, this quote below is the answer to so so much:
“Begin by being still. Quiet the outer world, so that the inner world might bring you sight. This in-sight is what you seek, yet you cannot have it while you are so deeply concerned with your outer reality.”
“This is the goal of your soul. This is its purpose–to fully realize itself while in the body; to become the embodiment of all that it really is. This is My plan for you. This is My ideal: that I should become realized through you. That thus, concept is turned into experience, that I might know my Self experientially.”
“Your soul knows all there is to know all the time. There’s nothing hidden to it, nothing unknown. Yet knowing is not enough. The soul seeks to experience. You can know yourself to be generous, but unless you do something that displays generosity, you have nothing but a concept… It is your soul’s only desire to turn its grandest concept about itself into its greatest experience. (Until then it is speculation, and God says he has been speculating about Himself for a long time.)”
“The more you are, the more you can become, and the more you can become, the more you can yet be. The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore, not to find out Who You Are; seek to determine Who You Want to Be.”
And finally, this is so very interesting about petitionary prayers and our frame of mind:
“No prayer… goes unanswered. Every prayer — every thought, every statement, every feeling — is creative. To the degree that it is fervently held as truth, to that degree will it be made manifest in your experience. When it is said that a prayer has not been answered, what has in actuality happened is that the most fervently held thought, word, or feeling has become operative. Yet what you must know — and here is the secret — is that it is the thought behind the thought… that is controlling thought. If, therefore, you beg and supplicate, there seems a much smaller chance that you will experience what you think you are choosing, because the thought behind every supplication is that you do not have now what you wish. That thought becomes your reality.” and “You will not have that for which you ask, nor can you have anything you want. This is because your very request is a statement of lack, and your saying you want a thing only works to produce that precise experience — wanting — in your reality.
The correct prayer is therefore never a prayer of supplication, but a prayer of gratitude. When you thank God in advance for that which you choose to experience in your reality, you, in effect, acknowledge that it is there… in effect. Thankfulness is thus the most powerful statement to God; an affirmation that even before you ask, I have answered. Therefore never supplicate. Appreciate.”
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I am also reading an entry a day in The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo. My favorite passage from February was this one:
“I must somehow find a way to slow down the train that is me until what I pass by is again seeable, touchable, feel-able. Otherwise, I will pass by everything but will have experienced and lived through nothing.”
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What have you been reading lately? And are you on Goodreads? I’d love to connect there.