March 2017 Book of the Month
Words from a Wanderer, version two, is a timeless and beautiful collection of #anote2self affirmations. This book of gems was first published in 2013 as a collection of notes and love poems. For the three year anniversary, WFAW has been redesigned, re-edited and rereleased. It is now a book of 62 #anote2self daily affirmations that readers can carry with them easily. This edition can serve as a resource for daily meditation, mantra guidance, and encouragement to its reader. Author, Alexandra Elle, created this book to shed light on the fact that indeed not all who wander are lost; some are simply still finding their way.
The truth is always deep beneath the surface level of the words. It is the silent, peaceful knowing that is infectious. This feeling of peace is beyond measure, beyond reason and certainly beyond words.
Many years ago the communication scholar, Marshall McLuhan, famously coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” In other words, McLuhan understood “medium” in the broadest sense. He used the example of the light bulb to describe his theory. A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a profound effect on the environment. A light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence.
Similar to the light bulb, the life of every individual in their every thought, word and action influences the entire field of the cosmos. Therefore, someone with peace at heart naturally vibrates peace and harmony to influence the whole universe.
Feelings of love can sometimes seamlessly merge with feelings of desire. Culturally this connection is continuously reinforced by the media, by conversation, by our understanding of modes of expression. But, in truth, love and desire are distinct from one another. Certainly, expressing our love in a physical way can be meaningful and enjoyable. But it is not necessarily a required parallel action to be pursued every time we feel the stirrings of love deep in our heart. This is not a judgment. It is simply a reflection that is often overlooked in our hyper-sexualized culture.
The ancient symbol of a labyrinth relates to the concept of wholeness. By combining the imagery of a circle with a spiral, traditional labyrinths offer a meandering path with purposeful meaning. Walking the labyrinth offers a journey to the center of the maze and back out again. It is not meant to confuse or frustrate the walker. Rather, the gift of the labyrinth is to soothe, to comfort, to offer insight and reflection.
Perhaps, the most famous labyrinth is preserved within the nave of Chartres Cathedral in France. Built around 1200, it was intended to be walked as a pilgrimage in order to become closer to God. Labyrinths have been found all over the world — some dating back 4,000 years. All too often their origins lost in the mists of time.
The philosophical idea that if we had eyes powerful enough to see exactly what is happening, we would realize that even the most stable thing in the universe is actually changing all the time, is mirrored in the construction of a labyrinth. The structure of the labyrinth reminds us to trust in the flow of the universe. Walking the path reminds us to trust our intuition, stay on the path — essentially to walk the walk.
This weekend my husband built a labyrinth. It was a pretty inspired move. For us, the labyrinth served as a ceremonial finish to our long awaited apple harvest. The back story on the harvest includes two smallish granny smith apple trees that had previously yielded one or two squirrel nibbled offerings each season. This year with some timely nurturance and delicate care the trees produced 28 big, fat apple gems.
The truth is it can be tough to infuse our daily life with meaning and reverence. An apple harvest is as good an excuse as any for reminding us to slow down and celebrate the abundance of life. Walking the labyrinth this weekend, I found myself reminded that we are all exactly where we are meant to be right now. Just like those sweet little trees, we all blossom at the perfect moment to shine our absolute brightest.
Classical Labyrinths: Construction Manual
September 2016 Book of the Month
You’re just getting back to your studies, and you may find it hard to pick up yet another book, but I promise this one will have you completely captivated from the first sentence. You may even finish it in a weekend!
“An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.
When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?
In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.