Archives for posts with tag: reading list

Hey, don’t forget to upgrade your software. You know we become what we practice, sure, but don’t forget we can upgrade our own software anytime – through the magic of reading! It’s true. It’s even a wonderful time for it; it’s Banned Books Week!

If you’ve been following along, you’ve already watched this video, and maybe you’re also experiencing some difficulty getting into a book (and maybe you remember when it was much much easier to do)… It’s not too late to take back your attention span. It’s going to take practice, and it’s going to take a very specific new beginning. Are you ready for it? Here’s how it works:

  1. Turn off your device, or at least silence your notifications.
  2. Pick up a book.
  3. Begin reading.
  4. Keep reading.
  5. Go back to reading.
  6. Seriously, are you not reading?
  7. READ!

Yep. It’s that easy. 😉

If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of lists you can start with… here. Here. Here. Over here, too. One thing there is no shortage of? Books. Read some!

The ease and convenience of the Internet is no substitution for learning a subject with depth, or enjoying a long involved tale, or riding the emotional roller-coaster of poetry. Kind of a similar magnitude of difference as between “small talk” and deeply intimate conversations, actually. No need to coast through your existence being unimaginably facile, though; books exist (and so do deeply intimate conversations between very authentic people).

I’ve got a stack of books that I’ve not yet read.

Books, rather pleasantly, also give one time to soak things in, and give full consideration to new learning – no rushing necessary. I often set one aside and come back to it with greater appreciation or understanding, or having taken time to cross-reference a point that needed some clarification (or just to look up a word I didn’t understand in that context). Books don’t “turn it into an argument” if I disagree, either, they just wait for me to turn the page and learn more, which may broaden my perspective.

…You may be getting the impression I’m a huge fan of reading. 🙂 I am. It’s true. It’s a thing. I love to read.

I don’t read as much as I once did. Internet. I can clearly correlate the decline in my reading to the increase in my time online. Huh. I bet my software is way out of date as a result. It’s time to upgrade!

It’s time to begin again.

What are you reading?

I woke comfortably this morning, the alarm did not annoy or startle me. My sleep was not dreamless, but my dreams were surreal and seemed almost tender, as if chosen with great care to nurture me in the night. The morning feels gentle and quiet. I feel content. The room has a chill to it, and my coffee cup feels warm in my hand in a very pleasant way. This is a lovely morning.

I let my thoughts drift among the delightful living metaphors of my experience: long walks, cups of coffee, home cooking, the pot of gold at the end of… wait…what? I find myself smiling, and thinking of ‘the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’, which for me has tended to be envisioned as both broken, and empty, as long as I can remember. A hidden metaphor for my injury, perhaps, that I didn’t realize I was carrying with me all this time. I used to have a bleak recurring dream of chasing rainbows looking for the pot of gold, and finding it shattered, empty, with just a note left in among the shards…a note I never could pick up to read, however hard I tried. Dreams of disappointment, frustration, and futility were once very common in my dreamscape. They are more rare now. What jolted me back to more awareness of my thoughts, this morning, is that the pot isn’t broken! Here I am just drifting among the thoughts, old and new, and something is changed; it’s a startling sensation. This morning, the pot at the end of the rainbow is neither broken, nor empty; it is duct-taped together with great care, and although I cannot see the contents, I am aware the pot is filled. Someone has written on the duct tape – in my own hand writing, in ball point pen – ‘contentment’. This makes sense; I used to think that ‘happily ever after’ was what I would find in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When did I rewrite this fanciful metaphor? How is it that I didn’t notice sooner? Why this morning? Do these questions matter at all? (Probably not – they don’t read like the significant questions do, in some hard to identify way.)

What a lovely small thing to notice changed in a positive way, within myself. How easily it could have gone unnoticed! It’s a gentle reminder that our programming exists in the background of our consciousness, weighing in on our experience, and our understanding of our experience moment-to-moment, regardless of our awareness. That programming can support all the heartfelt compassion and delight with which we can face our world, or it can resonate with our doubts, fears, and insecurity, lead us to madness or despair, or influence our thinking in ways we would not choose were we more aware. Gnothi seauton.  It isn’t a caution or a criticism; just a reminder how important it is to be who we are, aware, awake, and without judgment.

Another door opens.

Another door opens.

This morning I am adding a book to my reading list – and I haven’t even finished it yet. This wee volume seems every bit as colossal on my journey as the weightiest tome ever could be, and already, just pages into it, I feel… Yes. That’s really it. I feel. This books moves me, and stirs my thinking, raises my awareness – like unfolding the next relevant section of a map. I won’t ruin the ending… I don’t know the ending. 🙂 “How to Love” by Thich Nhat Hanh goes on the reading list today.

Today is a good day for rainbows, for colorful pots in tiny gardens, for small books with big ideas, and for love. Today is a good day to know myself, and to delight in time I spend with me. Today is a good day to learn to love.