#BookReview Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss

courtesy amazon.ca

I took longer to read Anatomy of the Spirit than I expected because I found I could only read it in short sittings. This was partly due to a busy home life, but I felt I needed to really concentrate during each sit and required longer periods to absorb the information and lessons Myss was imparting.

The book has a phenomenal introduction to both Myss’ work as a spiritual healer and to set up the content.

I appreciate the way she aligned Christian, Jewish and Eastern belief systems and how they all lead us towards the same purpose: to live in deep faith in a power beyond our own, to know ourselves deeply and give up the illusion of control.

The book is organized according to the 7 Chakras. Within each section she links each Chakra to a main Christian or Jewish tradition. She also weaves in many stories about people in suffering due to blockages at that particular chakra and how they either heal or remain in suffering due to their ability or inability to confront the decisions made in their life which brought them to where they are.

I will read this book again because I think this is one of those books which will offer me different insights at different points in my life.

The most inspiring lesson of the book is how much power we have to change our situations while simultaneously giving up control over our life. That is a lesson which I think will challenge me quite a bit and I am eager to allow unfold.

If you’re interested in deepening your spiritual journey, I think this is a definite must-read.

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#amreading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

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The title. Obviously.

My first thought: the title is a gimmick to sell self-help in an inundated market. My second thought: yeah, I’ll buy it.

I’m at the point in my life where I really don’t give a f*ck what people think most of the time…so, I’m hoping this book will enlighten the way to feel like this all of the time.

I’m also hoping this book will be as honest and practical as its title suggests.

Looking forward to some great nuggets to use on this journey of growth and search for equanimity I seem to have unwittingly embarked upon.

Seems like a short straight-forward read…can’t wait to share my thoughts on this one.

Have you read it? Would you recommend it?

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Summer Comes to An Unofficial End

Technically, the fall equinox does not occur until September 22 this year and will mark the beginning of fall and the end of summer.

Puh-leez! We all know that summer unofficially ends this labour day weekend.

We can all feel it…with school starting next Tuesday, the back-to-school commercials that have been airing since July 31st (I was in shock when I saw it air before August!) and the ever-so-slight change in the weather.  The sun is choosing to slip into the horizon earlier every evening and the air is definitely fresher…less humid.

We are all eyeing those knee-high boots and chunky sweaters in store windows wondering when it will be cold enough to wear them without looking like idiots wearing boots and sweaters in thirty degree weather. (that’s Celsius).

The end of summer means good-bye to easy flip-flops, funky pedicures and that healthy summer glow.  It also means a return to schedules, routines, and the never-ending question: “what the hell am I making for dinner tonight?”  I can hear the clanking of iron bars as they lock into place around me when I envision my September life.  Fun time is over.

Or, is it?

My life will be much more scheduled.  I go back to work as a high school English teacher – where I cease to be Karen for 8 hours every day and become simply “Miss!”  – please add whine and you’ll get the intonation just right –

My life will be divided into 80-minute chunks of time and I will know (more-or-less) what every day will look like.  It is all under my control…that is until Jonathan decides to walk out of class because he can’t take anymore of this “English bullshit” or Tamara tells off Shawna in class because of something she said on FB – yes, both of these things have happened.

Regardless, I find I work better with a schedule.  I have many friends who are great at flying-by-the-seat-of-their-pants.  I envy them because I have to plan to be spontaneous.

The fall brings with it luscious colour.  I love, love, love the changing colours of the leaves.  It is so much more fun now that my son is 3 – we can make enormous piles of cranberry, bronze and copper leaves and jump in!  We can go for fall hikes and crunch the leaves to our hearts’ content.  Who says physical activity ends in the fall?

Fall hikes.  My favourite.  I have a tradition with a group of friends that is going into its ninth or even (gasp!) tenth year now….we always make a date for a long fall hike that ends perfectly at the coziest pub you have ever seen.   We walk, we eat, we drink.  It is (almost) worth the end of summer.

Even though I complain every day about the whole dinner making thing…I’m looking forward to the yummy types of squash to be roasted or pureed in soup. Delish hearty stews with chunky bread and a robust glass of Cabernet. Yum! As much as I delight in the first bbq of the season, fall family dinners are just as welcome. With thanksgiving in about 7 weeks, (in Canada we celebrate the holiday in October), a really great turkey dinner is soon to arrive.

And, really, it is so much easier to wrap up the left-overs and have them ready to be taken for lunch the next day, than have to think about making lunch every day like I’ve had to all summer. (there’s only so many tuna salads I can take).

Even though I am sad that time for me, my life, my family will be swallowed up by my career again next Tuesday, I am envisioning the wicked schedules I will create while wearing the newest boots in my collection and planning the next awesome fall hike as I drink a glass of Shiraz.

So, I guess, fall ain’t so bad.

Happy Labour Day weekend to all!  Do our last summer long weekend good!

Are you feeling any bitter-sweet feelings about the winding down of summer and beginning of fall?

Can We Have It All?

courtesy: todaysparent.com

Recently, The Atlantic published an article entitled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All by Anne-Marie Slaughter.

It was a very honest view of the constraints put upon women who want to excel in their careers and be  active mothers in the lives of their children.  The conclusion? It’s impossible.

The author writes of a fulfilling and highly demanding career in the White House and the continued feelings of failure she experienced because her adolescent son was experiencing trouble at school.  She notes that most women do what they can to spend as many of the toddler years as possible with their children and sacrifice the teenage years for their careers.

This reminded me of something a colleague of mine said to me not too long ago: children need their parents just as much, if not more, when they are in their teens.  It is a highly volatile time for a child and that is when parental love, guidance and support is most crucial.  It is also when we decide that they are independent and can fend for themselves.  Surely they don’t need mommy to feed them, clothe them or take them to the potty.  So mommy can go back to work in over-drive!  When the children are young, career is sacrificed and when the children grow, they are sacrificed.

Slaughter was criticized for her decision to sacrifice her career for her adolescent children; it rings so very anti-feminist.    Except, is it?  We do not live in a society that favours and supports raising children – I mean truly raising them.  Even for us Canadians who have the privilege of a one year maternity leave, we are left a little disoriented at the end of that year in the scramble to find adequate (and, affordable – though the two never seem to align) childcare when it is time to return to work.

Once at work, there is the negotiation of time, work-from-home options, the endless sick days we take for our children…and, that’s if we’re lucky to work in an environment that supports family.  Some careers demand our full attention and children and family are dropped from the priority list.

Slaughter calls for the beginning of a new dialogue.  One that involves looking at the needs of modern women who wish to engage in a thriving career and have a family.  This dialogue demands that women become outspoken and promote change at the legal level to ensure that the needs of children are being met without any sacrifice of career and that the needs of women are being met without the sacrifice of her children.  If it was possible for the feminist movement to exact great change in the lives of women 40-50 years ago, then it is possible for us to reopen the dialogue and exact change in the lives of women again.

I loved the honesty of her writing and the passion she has for promoting the interests of women and family.

Do you believe women can have it all now?  Or, do changes need to be made in economic, social and legal structures to allow us to have it all?