Tag Archives: Books

Read What You Enjoy

9 Feb

“My time is precious; I don’t want to waste it reading books that I don’t enjoy”, said one lady at a book group recently. There was a mixed response from the group: some nodded their heads, others exclaimed that once they’ve started reading a book, they have to finish it, even if they’re not enjoying it. I had always been taught to plough through books until their end, because we’d always learn something from them, even if we don’t enjoy them. However, looking back on my literary past, it seems like enjoyment plays a huge part in a successful learning process.

I have recently had to compile a list of my favourite thirty books of all time. Considering the fact that almost all of the books that I have read in the past four years were compulsory university reading, only one or two of them made it onto the list. I was in disbelief when I could hardly even remember what, apart from those two favourites, we had read over the course of my degree. I realised that I had spent four years reading things that I didn’t particularly enjoy, simply because they were considered educational, or classics, or ‘what every intelligent person should have read’.

There’s no doubt about it – those four years did bring me a lot of knowledge…but my knowledge came through sweat, persistence and obligation. Unfortunately, it did not come from curiosity, interest and, most importantly, enjoyment. I thought about the amazing books that I read in the months after my graduation: those books that make you stay up into the night; those that make you late because you can’t bear to put them down; those that you can’t wait to finish, but at the same time don’t want to end; those into whose world you wish you could be transported. I realised how different my university education would have been had I been reading things that I enjoyed. Studying would have been a pleasure, not a chore. Lectures would have been enlightening, rather than tiring. Essay-writing would have been inspiring, rather than depressing. Had I enjoyed what I was doing, I would have naturally put in all my effort to do it brilliantly. Had I enjoyed what I was doing, I would have appreciated and made the most of every single moment, rather than simply seeing it as a means to an end and pushing myself on with the thought that ‘it will be worth it in the end’.

Although I realise that I have gained a lot from my education, I strongly believe that I could have gained even more had I actually enjoyed the literature that we were made to read. True, had I not been ‘forced’, I would never have got through the classics on my own. But on the other hand, out of all the classics that I have studied, there are only a few that I truly enjoyed and would consider rereading. On the other hand, most of the books that I have read for pleasure are books that have had the most impact on me, whether philosophically, creatively or emotionally.

Today I abandoned a book that is considered a modern classic, because my complete impartiality to what I was reading wasn’t bringing anything positive into my life. No matter what we’re doing, we’re more likely to get something positive out of it if we’re enjoying ourselves. So let’s make a bit of time each day to read something that we enjoy!

Mind, Body and Spirit Books

17 Jan

A few days ago I mentioned that I had written a list of recommended books to have in the Lifestyle section of my local bookshop. Here is my basic list, containing books (including fiction) that have had a positive or in some cases astounding effect on my mind, body or spirit.

Conversations with God – Neale Donald Walsch

Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho

Like the Flowing River – Paulo Coelho

Moon Time: The Art of Harmony with Nature and Lunar Cycles – Johanna Paungger & Thomas Poppe

L’Art de l’Essentiel – Dominique Loreau

The Book of Silence – Sarah Maitland

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment – Deepak Chopra

Screw Work, Let’s Play – John Williams

A Return to Love – Marianne Williamson

Embracing Ourselves: Voice Dialogue Manual – Hal and Sidra Stone

Heal Your Body – Louise L. Hay

Cellular Awakening: How Your Body Holds and Creates Light – Barbara Wren

Let me know if there are any other books that you think should be part of this list. I would love to read them!

When the Angels speak – listen!

15 Jan

It is hard not to believe in Angels when they speak to you so clearly. I have been referring to my mum’s pack of Angel cards whenever I have felt that I couldn’t find a good enough answer to my enigmatic life questions elsewhere. And their answers have been to the point each time.

The simplest version works like this: you shuffle through the deck of cards while concentrating on the question you’d like an answer to, or just on an area of your life that you need guidance on. Keep shuffling until you feel drawn, for any reason, to one of the cards in your hands. That is your answer.

So far, I have asked the Angels for relationship, family, career and ‘life direction’ advice. The cards that I pulled out either answered my question directly, or related precisely to the area of life that I was asking about. There are a couple of cards that I have pulled out more than once. Each had a similar message, saying that I would be helping people “during ordinary circumstances” and that I would soon be “reaching even more people”. I sat, I waited, I wondered what all this could mean and how it would manifest itself. And today I realised that one step towards this has been taken.

Upon starting my week-end shift at the independent bookshop, I noticed that we now have a Lifestyle section, for which I so hoped we’d one day make space! Noticing that its selection of books was lacking, I started compiling a list of the inspiring and life-changing books that I felt we needed to get for it. The act of compiling a list of books seemed so banal, that I barely gave it a second thought. Then suddenly I realised: I am going to be passing on the joy that I received from these books by recommending them to others. And here I was, as the Angel cards told me, “reaching a lot of people, through ordinary circumstances”.

Angel cards are one of many media through which we can receive messages, signs or answers. Other media appear in the objects and events of our everyday lives. Because of how ‘small’ and ‘insignificant’ the activity of making a list seemed, I almost overlooked what a wonderful opportunity this was to share something I love with potentially many other people. And at that moment of realisation, I finally grasped what Mother Teresa meant when she said that “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”. What a great joy it is to know that in our humble lives, even the smallest things can make the biggest difference!

What I Love

6 Jan

There is an uncountable amount of things we love in life, yet we don’t even realise it!

Seeing as I am writing a blog about love, I sat down and made a list of all the things I love. The list took me half an hour to write and is almost two and a half pages long. Wow, I didn’t know that there were so many things that inspire me and bring me joy! It’s funny how we don’t even realise just how much something means to us until we sit down and make a list of it.

But, as proven, even making lists has its own beauty: it has opened my eyes to the things that I treasure in life…and the fact that my current life hardly encompasses any of these things at all. Time to get out there and start experiencing the things I love!

I L♥VE….

the sea

soft warm sand

piano music …. Ludovico Einaudi

trees

all things natural

softness

making people laugh

dacha

sunsets behind the field

white nights

spending an afternoon in the park reading

playing hide and seek in long grass

growing my own food

wild flowers

hidden streams

listening to live music

singing

guitar

people with a passion

when someone’s eyes glow as they talk about something they love

dancing

performing on stage

making collages

langauges

snow

vastness

the smell of sun on my skin, the smell of clothes that have dried in the sun

raspberry jam

pancakes

opera

writing

walking barefoot on the earth

long walks

receiving and sending handwritten letters

bikes with baskets

fireworks

being very silly

drawing colourful pictures with fat felt tip pens

my pillow

physical contact

the smell of freshly cut grass

the smell of rain on a summer’s day

autumn

waking up early, when the sun is rising and everything is quiet all around

cheesecake, carrot cake

poetry

books

small independent book shops

milky, sweet coffee in the morning

birches

huge pine tress

secret lakes

balconies and French windows

rye bread with butter

children

yoga

the echo of footsteps in a museum

feeling in the flow