• Wee Read – Winter Reads

    Wee Read has been having a rest and a proper winter’s cold. But best of all, time for a read.My novel at the moment is Diana Gabaldon’s     ‘A Breath of Snow and Ashes’, it is the 6th of her series now on US TV as ‘Outlander’. I love a story set in the past. This one has a wee bit of time travel and some interesting learning about the 1745 rebellion, and Charles Stuart is in the stories.Quite funny at times, as well lots of tragedy!The prologue :

    “Time is a lot of the things people say that God is. There’s the always preexisting, and having no end.  There’s the notion of being all powerful—because nothing can stand against time, can it?  Not mountains, not armies.

    And time is, of course, all-healing.  Give anything enough time, and everything is taken care of: all pain encompassed, all hardship erased, all loss subsumed.

    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.

    And if Time is anything akin to God, I suppose that Memory must be the Devil.”

    I also enjoy the wee bits of the Gaelic running through these books. Mo chridhe, a leannan,… one day I will study and learn this beautiful mother tongue. Thanks to my pal Eilean for her encouragement to read the books, and for learning the Gaelic and offering to bring me into that process with her!

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    Ofcourse, as I read the stories of others, I also reflect and wonder at my own story- and the power of the stories I believe about myself, which are probably not fixed and lasting.Or true!

    It’s helpful to talk to myself about my stories, and maybe loosen their grip on my whole life. Things indeed do change and two new books I have been given lately will help me do some loosening-

    ‘the art of meditation, the heart’, by Vessantara,  is a simple introduction to developing loving kindness. Looking forward to reading it all, and using it with my friend, Dhanabhadri who has lent me it. We will bring the meditation classes to The Hope Cafe in the New Year.Here’s a bit of the introduction :

    “In this short book we shall learn some methods from the Buddhist tradition that will enable us to explore our own hearts, and to develop more satisfying ways of being. These methods can help us become more loving and compassionate towards others, and kinder and more understanding towards ourselves.” 

    I think the attitude of kindliness towards myself is the most fundamental thing to try and get into a habit of, and also noticing when I am not doing it.

     The next book to help me to loosen-up my views about myself, is Pema Chodron’s  ‘when things fall apart’, heart advice for difficult times. Available here.  She also talks about metta, or maitri- that is translated as loving kindness- and offers support in loving ourselves more.

    “Cultivating that unconditional friendliness toward whatever arises in your mind….Like clouds in a big sky or waves in a vast sea, all our thoughts are given the space to appear…

    If any of these have inspired you to read them as well, that’s great! And also ask what are your stories are to yourself?Listen to your heart and let the secrets come out!

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  • BBC creative bibliotherapy – read yourself happy!

     

    Hephzibah Anderson, whose moniker I envy,  is the bibliotherapist who now has a BBC column.  She will give you a book on prescription recommendation if you  are in need of some textual healing so go on then, ask!

    Hephzibah quotes research by University of Sussex  to try and measure:

    ..”that reading is a more efficacious stress reliever than listening to music, going for a walk or sitting down with a nice cup of tea… “After just six minutes with a book – any book – their subjects found stress was reduced by up to 68 per cent. With the right book, that really could be time well spent.” Well, I don’t know if you can clinically measure the enjoyment someone gets from a book as opposed to a cup of tea, but might just catch that research with my next coffee.

    Hephzibah says, “That’s why we’re launching our very own bibliotherapy column. Send us an email to tell us what ails and what irks you, be it broken resolutions or a broken heart, whether you’re feeling lost in life or stuck in your career. I’ll recommend you some books old and new, mostly though not exclusively fiction, that are sure to speak to your predicament, offering insights and encouragement as well as a little escapism. And at the very least, you’ll discover some great new titles. To quote the sign in Mr Mifflin’s bookshop, “Malnutrition of the reading faculty is a serious thing. Let us prescribe for you”.