Friday, October 24, 2014

Living Life in Full Bloom (Self-Help Book)

Living Life in Full Bloom: 120 Daily Practices to Deepen Your Passion, Creativity & Relationships, by Elizabeth Murray, is a book overflowing with heart and practically radiating light. As I turned the pages, I kept thinking about who might enjoy this book as much as I was. Certainly this is a book that gardeners, artists, and those who experience life deeply would appreciate. Something about the book feels like it was meant to be a gift, even if only from the higher part of our selves to the everyday part.

While Life in Full Bloom is promoted as a self-help book, it feels more like a little vacation to a kinder, more thoughtful world. It is filled with art and photos, many of which I could easily get lost in. The book is also filled with stories about people who are living life in “full bloom,” including 92 year-old Betty Peck, who has dedicated her life to cultivating children’s imagination and teaching them about nature. Growing up, Murray was influenced by the Quakers, and it is easy to see how this shaped the book. While the book is beautiful, it does not shy away from sadness and grief, which are a natural part of life. Honestly, I could take or leave the more self-help focused parts of the book. For me, they take away from the overall flow and feel of the book.

Today I am going to reluctantly return my overdue copy of Living in Full Bloom to my local library, which has a waiting list for it. I feel like I am returning from a town where I secretly would like to live. A tiny part of the book has made its way into my consciousness, but I want so much more.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One Person/Multiple Careers (Career Book)

Marci Alboher gives new meaning to the term “slasher.” In this case a slasher is not a character in a horror movie. Rather, it is a person with multiple careers. Even the title of the book is a slasher. “One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success;” “How ‘The Slash Effect’ Can Work for You.” This is not so much a how-to or inspirational book, as it is a book about identity. This is an “aha” book: “So, this is the direction my life is trying to take;” "So, this is who I am."

Marci Alboher describes both traditional and non-traditional slashers. Of course, she writes about the parent/career-person and the assorted artists/day-job workers. But, she also describes people who combine two or more unlikely careers. Some of the slashes complement one another, even if it is not first apparent. Other slashes are at odds but are an important part of a person’s life and identity. The book is filled with examples and contains practical advice.

One Person/Multiple Careers gives readers permission to be who they are, slashers. Instead of spending energy trying to choose an identity, they can spend their efforts making their unique combination work. This book is a “must read” for anyone who has been struggling too long with what they are going to be “when they grow up,” no matter what their age.