Hope, Direction, and Gratitude

On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to get together with June, an old and dear friend. Among the many topics of conversation that afternoon was the awesome power of books to change one’s thinking, give hope, and offer direction. Yes, we talked about paint chips and husbands and careers too, but somehow the topic always returned to some of the books we’ve read and how they affected our lives.

While there are dozens that I could mention, I’m only going to highlight a few:

The first three words in Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled were sobering for both of us the first time we read it. Basing his premise on the noble truths of Buddha, Dr.Peck states, “Life is difficult,” and then goes on to say that as soon as people accept that fact and stop whining, then they can go about their lives in a more effective way.

June and I went through a season in which we devoured the words of Sarah ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance. We even gave each other gratitude journals and followed Sarah’s (we felt we were on a first name basis with her)  advice to write five things each day for which we were grateful. What this taught us was to be more mindful and to pay attention  to the good things in our lives.

And how can I forget Melody Beattie’s The Language of Letting Go? I can’t. In fact, I’ve  given several copies of this book away and currently have a copy here at home, at the beach bungalow, and on my Kindle. Sometimes I forget that I deserve all that life and love have to offer, and I need a reminder from Melody. I’ve also learned about detaching with love, the power of waiting, and knowing  when to say no from her.

Then there’s Dr. Stephen Covey and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I first read this book 14 or 15 years ago, and I continue to dip into it whenever I need a reminder to be proactive, make some deposits in an emotional bank account, or sharpen the saw. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a big Covey fan.

Though small, Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved my Cheese? also gave me much food for thought. A student introduced me to this book, and his favorite line soon became one of mine: “It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.”

Before I get too carried away with more favorites, I just want to reiterate that reading can change a person’s perspective, lift her out of the doldrums, and show her a better way. I’m hoping that my new book, Eve’s Sisters, a compilation of essays applying psychological principles to the women of the Bible AND the women of today, will help people as much as other books have helped me!

Yes to the Best

I’ve been thinking lately about how we become all of the things that we see, hear, read, and experience. We are a composite of all that has come before even when we forget it. Several years ago a good friend of mine was going through a rough patch, and her therapist recommended a little book of meditations entitled The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. My friend gained so much insight and peace from it that it didn’t take much convincing on her part for me to get a copy for myself.

 

In a word, Wow. It seemed as though Melody’s words were written just for me. I bought and gave away several copies of it, and about a month ago, I realized that I no longer had a copy of my own. Thanks to Amazon.com, that problem was solved in a matter of days, and since that time, I’ve been rereading meaningful passages.

 

What’s on my mind today is the author’s treatment of the word yes, my word for last year. Why did I choose that word? Hmmm. After re-reading the August 8 meditation, I’m thinking that maybe I absorbed Melody’s advice into my own heart and soul so much that YES became a part of me. On the chance that her “yes words” might mean something to you, I’m going to list a few:
 

“We can learn to say yes to healthy relationships, to people and activities that are good for us.

We can learn to say yes to ourselves, what we want and need, our instincts, and the leading of our Higher Power.

We can learn to say yes when it feels right to help someone. We can learn to say yes to our feelings. We can learn to identify when we need to take a walk, take a nap, have our back rubbed, or buy ourselves flowers.

We can learn to say yes to work that is right for us.

We can learn to say yes to all that will nurture and nourish us. We can learn to say yes to the best life and love have to offer.”

 

Is that last line powerful or what??? The truth is that way…powerful.