Mary, Bloody Mary
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Sunday, June 17, 2012
I was browsing the bookstore shelves, looking for another book on philosophy to send to my son who is working at a summer camp with no TV and very little internet, when I came upon this little gem, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. It's only 158 pages, so I took the liberty of reading it before mailing it off to Colorado.
Hoff uses the simplicity of Winnie-the-Pooh to examine the basic teachings of Lao-tse in the Tao Te Ching (Tao Virtue Book). He compares the simplicity of Pooh to the "Uncarved Block," or what is natural and plain, representing the quiet nature that does things spontaneously rather than over thinking and over planning. He examines the habit of trying to arrange things to fit a predetermined view of how life should be and contrasts that with simply living life, day by day. He claims that for those who go through life in this simple way, things just have a way of working themselves out. Quoting Piglet he writes:
"Pooh hasn't much Brain, but he never comes to any harm. He does silly things and they turn out right."
A similar concept Hoff explores is the Wu Wei, or as he calls it, the Pooh Way "without doing, causing, or making." He compares it to water flowing around the rocks, rather than trying to force a straight path through them. Tao literally means "Way," and he contends that going with the flow and listening to our intuition gives us a Sensitivity to Circumstances that helps guide our path.
Now that it's summer, its easier to believe that life can be so simple. I just hope I remember the lesson come September.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Have you ever felt as if you were being led to a book?
A couple of months ago my work laptop started malfunctioning. I took it upstairs to our Information Technology (IT) department which happens to be located in a room inside of our media center (aka: library).
As I hung around in the library waiting for the laptop problem to be ascertained, I started looking through the books on the shelf outside of IT. I happened to find myself in the philosophy section. This peaked my interest because although my son rarely read for pleasure, during his senior year in high school he developed a keen interest in philosophy and read many books on the subject. This spurred several interesting and thought provoking conversations during long road trips when we were visiting colleges.
Needless to say, as I found myself in the philosophy section of the high school where I work, I began exploring the shelves with great interest. One particular book caught my eye. It was Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. The book had been recommended to me in the past, but I had never read it. As I began thumbing through the pages, I discovered the incredible true story of a Jewish psychiatrist who found himself imprisoned in several notorious Nazi concentration camps during world War II including Auschwitz.
I checked out the book, took it home, and ended up reading it in one night! I don't remember what was wrong with my computer, but the story of Frankl's struggle to maintain hope and dignity in the most oppressive of circumstances will be something I will remember forever.
The first half of the book chronicles his concentration camp experiences and his struggle to find a reason to live. The second half of the book explores the theory of logo therapy that he developed, in part, based on his concentration camp experiences. Something that was crucial to his survival was finding meaning in every moment. Even in suffering we all have choices. He says that we can't avoid suffering but we can find meaning in it and choose how we deal with it.
Here is a quote from pages 65-66 that demonstrates his philosophy:
"We who have lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
It's no wonder this book has sold over twelve million copies in twenty-four languages.
This summer between semesters, my son found a summer job working at a camp in Colorado. There is no TV, no cell coverage, and one computer with Internet access that must be shared with all the staff. As I was considering what to send him that wouldn't get eaten by the squirrels or be difficult to pack on his return trip back to college in the fall, I thought of Frankl's book. Thanks to amazon.com shipping, this fascinating story is now on its way to Colorado.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
The summer I turned eleven, I found out that ghosts are real.
Everybody thinks Tara Doucet has the perfect life. But in reality, Tara’s life is anything but perfect: Her dear Grammy Claire has just passed away, her mother is depressed and distant, and she and her sister Riley can’t seem to agree on anything. But when mysterious and dazzling butterflies begin to follow her around after Grammy Claire’s funeral, Tara just knows in her heart that her grandmother has left her one final mystery to solve.
A strange butler shows up to take Tara and Riley to Grammy Claire’s house, where Tara finds a stack of keys and detailed letters from Grammy Claire herself. Note by note, Tara learns unexpected truths about her grandmother’s life. As the letters grow more ominous and the keys more difficult to decipher, Tara realizes that the secrets she must uncover could lead to mortal danger. And when Tara and Riley are swept away to the beautiful island of Chuuk to hear their grandmother’s will, Tara discovers the most shocking truth of all — one that will change her life forever.
The cover for this book is dazzling. If you'd like to check it out and possibly win free books, go to Kim's Cover Reveal