I’ve never read The Divine Comedy otherwise known as Dante’s Inferno. From what I’ve heard it is difficult to understand or make much sense of, so why bother? That was until I read an interpretation offered by author Martha Beck in her soon to be published book, The Way of Integrity. While I’m unlikely to drop everything and rush out to get a copy of Dante’s classic, I have come to appreciate the metaphorical ideas and mystical inspiration that it contains. But perhaps more important, Beck uses it as a road map for meeting our inner selves and following a path to inner wholeness and ultimate wellbeing. And who couldn’t use a bit (or a lot) of that these days?
One of the best things about joining a book club is the fact that you are introduced to titles that you normally wouldn’t choose for yourself. Last month my nonfiction group picked Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking—or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Let People Help. Not only is it an entertaining and easy read, it is also filled with thoughts and ideas about honesty, feelings of adequacy, being a writer and other acts of creation, trusting ourselves, accepting love, getting paid for our art, and the power of social media. Going far beyond the difference between asking and begging, Palmer’s book is a manifesto on ways to look at the world from a position of connection and wholeness. It is stuffed with plenty of meaty ideas for a two-hour book club as well as a blog post or two. [Read more…]
Most of the time I consider myself to be a very trustworthy and honest person. I do what I say I will do and typically say what I do without hesitation. But a new book I just finished has me digging a bit deeper around issues of honesty, trust and self-awareness. According to author Kelley Kosow, every one of us holds our own key to The Integrity Advantage. All we have to do is get naked, drop the BS, and embrace the wholeness that comes from living true to ourselves.
That sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, a big problem is that most of the time when we think about trust and honesty we focus on other people—not ourselves. The nightly news is filled with examples of others who lie and cheat, and that keeps our attention fixated on them instead of the little (or sometimes big!) white lies we tell ourselves. As long as we keep pointing fingers at other people who we believe are doing something wrong, we avoid taking a hard look at where our own actions might be out of alignment. Ultimately as Kosow says, “The reason we don’t trust others is because, deep down, we don’t trust ourselves.” [Read more…]
The late afternoon has always been my favorite time of day. So this weekend when I found a quote by Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of Analytical Psychology, it grabbed my attention. He said, “The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different….”. Intrigued I continued to read how Jung believed that the approximate time between ages 56 and 83 offer each of us the opportunity to make the process of aging a positive and life-enhancing experience. Regardless of whether we find ourselves only approaching that “afternoon” of life, or deep within it, the SMART perspective is to learn and stay conscious about what we can do to live an ongoing life of quality and purpose. [Read more…]
My husband Thom is much more of a Taoist than I am. In case it’s new to you, Taoism (pronounced Dow-ism) is an ancient Chinese teaching originally developed from a book written over 2,500 years ago by a man named Lao Tzu. Often referred to as “The Way,” Taoism emphasizes a harmonious relationship between nature, humanity and the divine. Put another way, Taoism is a path to simple, SMART and sustainable living. This year Thom decided to make the book The Tao of Pooh part of his summer reading. After quickly absorbing the content, he urged me to read it as well. I was surprised to discover that The Tao of Pooh offered both an entertaining and unique perspective on Taoism, as well as a number of simple living lessons that I thought any minimalist might appreciate.
Thom and I just returned from a vacation. Spanning 12 days, we attended a wedding, visited with family, stayed in six different hotels, drove over 1,600 miles, hiked in three national parks, and explored parts of five different states in the Southwestern United States. To accomplish this our trip was an orchestration of coordination and planning—as well as an ongoing intention of the Taoist principal of wu wei. While most people lean one way or another when taking a vacation, I believe that the best of them include a delicate dance between the two. Much like the Tao symbol of yin and yang, wu wei and planning blend the two aspects of action into a harmonious whole. In fact, including wu wei in your travel plans just might be the best way to travel on vacation-–or through life itself. [Read more…]