Among the many things I love about books and reading is that sometimes you come across something where the author can express in words exactly what you are thinking or feeling in way you couldn't figure out how to do.
I find this happens to me especially at times when I am going through something life changing. Whether is meeting someone or breaking up with someone, making career changes or exploring new adventures I always happen to stumble across a book expressing my exact sentiments that I couldn't find the words for. And when this happens, these stories become life lines- something to hold on through as you figure your way through. It keeps you grounded and serves as a reference point to which you can look back for inspiration, courage or remembrance.
When I find books like this I hold on to them and find that I reread them over again when I am faced with a situation similar to the one that latched my onto the story in the first place.
One of my favorites is a book by Alison Pace called Through Thick and Thin. It tells the story of two sisters, Meredith and Stephanie who lead completely opposite lives. They both bond and separate because of dieting and they try to deal with the issues of their lives while trying to lose weight. At one point Meredith adopts a dog and decides to try a dog yoga, or doga if you will, class. As Meredith struggles through poses her teacher says something so simple, yet so brilliant. "Try easy," he says. What a revelation! And this can be applied to so many things in life. I recall the scene from this book constantly when something is giving me trouble. I'll take a moment and repeat: try easy. I think we have a tendency to make thing far more complicated than they may actually need to be. We get ourselves all worked up into a frenzied, stressed out state of madness until we can't see which way is up. If we take a moment, breathe, and try easy things just might turn around.
Another book I turn to constantly because it's so full of wisdom that I learn something new every time is Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert offers such insightful views on so many important aspects of life: love, relationships, self discovery, work... to name a few. I tend to turn back to Eat, Pray, Love after things turn sour in my love life. I see a lot of similarities between myself and Gilbert in the way we behave in relationships (as I'm sure many women and maybe even some men do too.) It's nice to turn back to this book and rereard Gilbert's comforting words, like wrapping myself in my coziest blanket and settling in for the period of "getting over it" or "moving on."
Another book I've mentioned here that offers some great advice is Cathy Kelly's Past Secrets. In it Maggie suffers a devastating breakup after discovering her boyfriend's been cheating. Her friend suggests getting back at him, making him suffer and other sorts of revenge. Instead of giving in Maggie says, "I'm trying to put myself in the happy Zen state where the only true revenge is living my own life well." And it's true. You can't look anything but fabulous and confident when you are living your best life to its fullest potential. Instead of worrying about him (or her if the case may be) you focus on you. You make you better and you sink your teeth into carpe diem.
Most recently I've been reading Now and Then by Jacqueline Sheehan. It's been an interesting read so far. I've been enjoying it but I'm only half way through so I don't have an official opinion yet. Anyway, While I reading before bed last night I came across a great droplet of wisdom. The main character Anna is thinking about her situation (which is that she and her nephew have time traveled back to Ireland 1844 and don't know how to get back) and she realizes: she could endure the most excruciating circumstances as long as she knew there was an end. Similarly Anna thinks that "surely she can do anything for a few days." We as people don't do well with any sort of uncomfort. Pain. Confusion. Anxiety. Helplessness. But we forget it's only temporary. Those feelings don't last forever. I know for me, when I'm in the middle of something, I feel like it's never going to be any other way. When I'm in it, I can't see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. But as cliche as it is, it's there. The feelings fade back, time makes it better and it ends.