As an author, I get asked the same question wherever I am. I'm serious. It has happened on a return flight to Kauai earlier this month, at a party last weekend, and even on social media in the middle of the night.
"What do you read?"
My latest read was a book that a peer author and speaker loaned to me on her visit to Kauai. Although I received it before the turn of the New Year, it took some time away from editing my second book, With New Eyes, (due out in September) to read Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein. It is she reveals 108 simple techniques to conquer our most common problems such as stress, burnout, and frustration. It's an easy read, broken down into one to two page tools. Want to know more?
Read my review of Gabrielle's book below:
This is my first taste of Gabrielle Bernstein. I believe that this book has a real niche for helping our fast-paced, multi-tasking society find easy ways to shift our perspective and to meditate. Let's face it, not all people can dedicate a half-hour to silent meditation or an hour to yoga. Miracles Now gives a practical list of 108 tips, meditations, and mantras that all can implement to receive the benefits of meditation: less stress, more focus, and life change.
With that said, I didn't think all of the 108 tips hit it out of the park. In fact, many didn't speak to me at all. However, that goes with any type of meditation; it is a personal choice and preference of what works for you. In the structure of the book, each of the tools is one to two pages in length, which makes it easy to read a bit at a time. In my case, I took some and skipped others that didn't speak to me. In fact, I wouldn't recommend reading this book in one sitting. It is meant to be digested bit by bit, while revisiting the tools that speak to you.
After recovering from a tremendous trauma and witnessing first hand the power of meditation and perspective, I use meditation and a specific mantra to help me daily. Because of my experience, I would like to share with you the three tools in Gabrielle's book that I spoke to me: 19, 62, and 69.
19: Be more childlike
In a world of to-do lists, many think that we will have fun when the to-do list is completed. However, there will be another to-do or another list. This tool recommends that we:
1) Be more curious about something new
2) Be present
I implement this tool frequently. Although many think that I'm crazy when I say this, "Adventure is my meditation." I find that by doing new things whether kayaking the Napali Coast of Kauai, traveling to Cuba, or transitioning my first book to film I become uber focused, mindful with the task at hand. Each adventure provides a way of shifting my perspective and seeing my present surroundings with new eyes.
62: Take a one-minute gratitude break
Gabrielle ends this tool with a tweet to share, which I think sums up the message, "Our ability to change our minds is one of our greatest tools for achieving peace." I believe that the ability to change our mind and perspective IS our greatest tool. Through my recovery and life since, I adopted a mantra that is called Looking Up, which stems from this same principle. It has two components:
1) Be aware of your surroundings, appreciating the beauty as well as hazards around you. In essence, be in the moment and mindful.
2) Spin each situation positively. Although some situations appear negative at first, they can be learning opportunities or needed detours on life. There is no experience that is wasted.
Tool 62 connects to Looking Up on both levels.
69: Have it all
In this tool, she explains that we can have it all, but just not all at the same time. This resonated with me not because I completely agree with her take, but because I, too, believe we can have it all and perhaps at the same time. My belief that we can have it all and now comes from the fact that "having it all" is also a personal definition and it shifts by the moment, day, and year. Right now having it all for me is my health and the health of my close friends and family (clan) as well as freedom. My having it all doesn't include a title, location, an amount of money; however, at other points in my life, I did have some of those elements to my having it all. Through my life-altering accident and recovery, I have drastically prioritized what is important.
Thank you Gabby for Miracles Now. I think that you and your readers will find many similarities in our two stories and books.
You can read other Just Read Reviews on my blog of The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, Brain on Fire, The Happiness Project and more.
Don't forget to get your copy of my memoir, When All Balls Drop, before the movie comes out (early 2016).
Here's to looking up!