Tag Archives: Bookshop

Counting the Blessings, Not the Events in My Life

15 May

I had heard that time flies, but no-one had told me that it soars. The past year has gone by with the blink of an eye. For me, it has had little form and even less structure. What have I done during the past twelve months? What has happened in the last 365 days? Looking back, the past year looks like a stretch of time marked by uncertainty, emptiness and waiting. Things have moved at a slower pace than ever before, and there are few events that have been caught on camera or written into a diary. However, when I think about the past year, I realise for the first time that it is not the quantity of memorable events that matters so much as their quality. This year has brought few notable events, but they have had a crucial role in the direction of my life’s path.

1) I graduated from university.

2) I went on a life-changing trip to India.

3) I completed a novel-writing course, which made me realise that, despite my fears, that I am capable.

4) I was offered my first ‘real’ job in a field that I love.

5) I moved to a different country.

6) I moved in with my boyfriend.

However, when I look back at the past year, these events feature only as a backdrop to that which happened on centre stage. In fact, it is my spiritual experiences and changes that played the main role during this period of time.

1) I got rid of 50% of my material possessions. In my new home, I live only with the things that I use regularly.

2) I deleted my social networking accounts. If they’re my real friends, I should be able to call them to find out about their lives. If I feel uncomfortable about picking up the phone to speak to them, I don’t need to be filling my mind with their lives. Seven months without Facebook, and I feel calmer, more confident and I know who my true friends are.

3) I took a risk. When I started job-hunting last autumn, I knew that I had two choices: I could either persevere and look for jobs in the field that I love –writing – or I could take the easier option of going into a better paid, more stable and more ‘prestigious’ career. Parents considered The City or the EU as a good destination for me, but I knew that if I didn’t take the chance to try my luck in writing, I would never again have the opportunity to do so. Three months later, I was offered a job as an online content editor.

4) I made a dream come true. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of working in a cute little bookshop, where I would be able to pass on my love for literature to others. In the autumn, I was hired for a week-end shift at a new independent bookshop in my area. I only worked there for four months, but the experience was unforgettable. I was blessed with kind, knowledgeable and good-humoured colleagues, with friendly clients and with a brilliant stock of books to enjoy.

5) I chose love over fear.  What if I don’t like it? What if it doesn’t work out? What if he changes his mind? What if we get bored? A million doubts filling my mind before moving to a new country and moving in with my boyfriend. Four months after my move, this new life feels like second nature.

6) I was honest with myself. Young women my age are going to parties, filling their days with countless activities, following fashion, spending, seducing, networking…I tried, but never found fulfilment in any of these activities. I finally admitted to myself that I would prefer to spend Friday night watching the sunset from a hill, spend the afternoon riding a bike, spend evenings doing yoga, spend the week-ends doing photography, and spend my money on dance class, art exhibitions or fresh local food from the market. By being honest with myself, I have found a more natural way of life.

This year, I may not have had many events to talk about, but I have had many ideas and feelings to share. I think I am finally starting to learn how to count the blessings, and not the events in my life…

Life’s Beautiful Surprises

4 Apr

Crane Lifting Moon

We often hear that the greatest opportunities and our life’s most important moments come from being “in the right place at the right time”. This can also be called ‘sheer accident’ or, as I like to call it, ‘destined coincidence’. With no prior planning or intention, we meet someone, see something or participate in an event that overthrows our life. This comes as an unexpected coincidence, yet it is so perfect for us at that precise moment, that it puts us into a sort of ecstasy. We are overwhelmed with happiness at the beautiful surprise that life threw our way. We cannot believe that none of this was planned; as if we were getting the present we most wanted from an absolute stranger.

Yesterday, I happened to be “in the right place at the right time”. Through a series of coincidences and intuition hints, I found myself meeting one of the bestselling British writers of current times. Not something I was expecting on a quiet afternoon in a foreign country! I was part of a small group to attend the writer’s talk at a literary festival in town. The writer, down-to-earth and honest, talked about his new novel, and, at the end of the event, was more than happy to chat in his mother tongue to the only Brit out of the group (me!). Our brief exchange created the possibility of this author hosting an event at the London bookshop in which I used to work (and to which I am still greatly attached). And all I had planned that day was a walk in town!

This meeting with the talented modern writer completely disoriented me. I was ecstatic not only from having had the opportunity to meet this author, but to have met him so unexpectedly, in such a perfect coincidence. And this got me thinking: are perfect moments like this only possible as coincidences? Or are they perfect precisely because they are coincidences? I doubt that I would have been ecstatic had I planned my meeting with the author months in advance; in the same way as knowing what you will be given for your birthday takes away the joy and surprise of receiving the present. It is precisely the surprise of such a perfectly destined coincidence that made the moment so special.

I wanted to say thank you for this wonderful gift. But who was I to thank? Who do we thank for a destined coincidence? Who do we thank for a perfect moment? Who do we thank for life’s beautiful surprises? And how is it that we should show our gratitude?

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!

The Gift of Intuition

8 Jan

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honours the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
– Albert Einstein

Our intuition nudges us constantly. It is a powerful but gentle force, guiding us softly but surely. Most of the time it comes to us in what we consider banal situations, so we don’t listen to it, thinking that an intuition is for ‘bigger, more important’ things.

Today, during my Saturday shift at my local independent bookshop, I was drawn in particular to one title: Twenty-one Locks by Laura Barton. I kept looking at the book, picking it up, flicking through it, reading passages of it. I couldn’t pull myself away from it.

Something was drawing me to the book, yet my rational side was trying to dissuade me against buying it: “You have too many unread books at home”, “You shouldn’t be spending so much money on your passions when there are more important things to take care of”, “You don’t even know whether you’ll like it”. Ah, the rational side of us – why does it always try to ruin all the fun? But most importantly – why do we listen to it so often? “You’re right,” we say to it, as if speaking to a scolding parent, and at the same time we turn our backs on our best friend Intuition.

I decided to research Twenty-one Locks on the internet, in the hope of finding something to help me make up my mind. I found an interview with Laura Barton …and warmed immediately to her. Laura came across as being down to earth, open and just simply lovely! She used beautiful language, including metaphors and imagery, which really evoked her persona. One phrase of hers stuck out at me in particular: “I hoped that if I just wrote as honestly as I could then people would respond to it”. Although I has sensed it already, this phrase confirmed that Laura writes for love; she writes from her heart, from her passions and from her interests. “[…] Life is too short to be nasty about things”, she said in the interview, and I knew that Twenty-one Locks would follow this motto. It would be a book created by a love for writing and a love for life.

In this everyday, seemingly banal situation of deciding whether or not to buy a book, my intuition had been guiding me in the right direction from the start. I listened to it in the end: I bought the book (and I really look forward to reading it). I just hope that next time I will trust my intuition enough to not have to use the internet for confirmation!