Tuesday, October 14, 2014

... books as our guides...

Sometimes the bookmark knows more than I do!

As a commuter, I often use an eReader, my Kindle or my iPad, to re-read materials. Rarely do I use these alone. I have multiple copies of some books that I use to slice apart and staple sections (especially those heavy Nortons) to carry on the train with intact copies with notes sitting in my office. My students used to blasphemously stare but I believe books are better read than left on a shelf… and if it weighs too much for the train along with the other books I lug back and forth, well then, it gets sliced and diced sometimes.

This has been true for even daily readers. In July, I shared about my history with Alexandra Stoddard’s Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty, and Joy to Every Day of Your Life (1986). One of my other go-to books is Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy (1995). I love it so much that when I had my original cover included in my Ideal Bookshelf I love the book partly because when I was first going through a divorce at the age of 23 and no one could believe it including me, two of my favorite people (a couple) gave me a copy. That was the year 1995 when the book was originally published. They didn't know what to say but this was the nicest thing they could have done.  Right after my first marriage was ending, my job went bankrupt. I ended up on my parents’ sofa for the next 6 months wondering what had happened. While I was looking for a job, I read Breathnach’s book and I journaled like mad. It was the only *therapy* I could afford and for the most part, it worked. I wrote; I collected pictures from magazines of the life that I wanted; I developed hope for my future. At some point, I regifted my original copy to another friend who needed it more than I did at the moment but then went on and bought a leather-bound copy which has decades of highlights and notes.

Last night, I picked up my e-version of the text and read from October 9th (a few days behind I might add), “Coping with Stress”. I have been looking over The Professor’s Bat Fit and trying to remember the goals I made for myself. I haven’t been doing very well. Not only is it the season of Pumpkin Spice lattes but I’m also quite stressed (even though I’m on sabbatical which is supposed to be relaxing!!!). I read Breathnach’s passage which leads into a series of suggestions that I need to start following. I probably need this as a daily check-off list but really just re-reading these suggestions is a helpful reminder.

When I went to write about this passage, I pulled down that leather-bound copy I previously mentioned and the little bookmark is, well you guessed it, tucked right between the pages of October 9th. Whenever I last referenced this paper edition, I must have been in the same place. Or perhaps, the universe just knew I needed this reminder.

Below is the passage with suggestions:

Is there a woman alive who doesn't suffer from stress? If there is, seek her out, ask her to share her wisdom. When you find her, I'd be willing to bet she'll offer the following suggestions:
                                                                                                                             (Breathnach October 9)


  1. I have Breathnach's book as well, and I've been reading and rereading my original hardbound copy (with, I think, a single year's hiatus) since 1995! Not everything in it works for me anymore, but it's still inspirational and definitely a keeper. :-)

    1. I'm right there with you that not everything works but somehow it seems like the fall entries work for me.

  2. ah! you sliced apart a Norton book!! a part of me dies. haha but no big deal, they come out with a new edition every year it seems. I have to check out Simple Abundance.

    1. Apparently Nortons are the most sacred texts to some of ya but they're also often ten pounds and this girl commutes so cut cut it is :-/