Sunday, December 13, 2009

'Tis the Season

This morning I read a Leo Buscaglia Christmas book
Seven Stories of Christmas Love. I no sooner finished the last page than Sharon dropped in to visit and I passed the library book along to her since she's a Leo B fan also. [Sharon don't read the next paragraph until you've finished the last story]

I was especially moved by the last story in the book since it was an adult life incident where he had a heart attack just before Christmas and his family wanted to cancel Christmas until he could join them. He, of course, insisted that they carry on as planned, especially for the children in the family. It was poignant to me because that is what he ultimately died of about a decade later at age 74 - June 12 1998 - to be exact.

His delightful book not only made me miss Leo whom I met once when he was speaking in Tucson in the early nineties, but it made me miss all the loved ones I shared Christmas with (like my mom, my uncle, my brother-in-law). I had him autograph his
Freddie the Leaf
for my grandson A.J. who was a toddler at the time. There was a long, long line both in front of me and behind. One of the organizers told me he would stay to greet everyone no matter how long it took. I cried. He looked so tired. I wanted to tell everyone waiting to give him a break and go home, but I didn't.
I didn't mean this to be sad when I started writing.

'Tis the season to miss those gone before us, perhaps.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

My copy of this book is so used that I'd be embarrassed to loan it out any more. I made many notes from it as I was recovering from my knee surgery.I've ordered a fresh used copy from Amazon. I propose to re-read it. The following is a review of the book I did for our Feb. 2009 BCSL Book club.

The New Earth teaches letting go of ego with nonattachment, nonjudgment and nonresistance and awakening with acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm. Eckhart leads you in a step by step progression.

He includes illustrative stories like this one about the Zen master whose neighbor's teenage daughter names him as the father of her child instead of revealing the father's true identity. When confronted with this accusation by the young girl's parents the master says, "Is that so?" News of his paternity ruins the master's reputation. When the baby is born the grandparents hand the baby to him and tell him to raise the child. He takes the baby in and raises her as his own. After a year the teenage mother confesses that the master is not the father and tells her parents the biological father's identity. They confront the master and demand the baby back.They tell him he is not the father. He answers, "Is that so?" and gives the toddler to them.

Another story lesson in the text that I liked was about hos Krishnamurti came on stage for a talk he was scheduled to make. He asked the audience if they wnated to know his secret. They said, "Yes!" Krishnamurti said, "I don't mind what happens," then left the stage.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life of Pi is one of the modern writing classics

I'm not sure if writing this good inspires or discourages me. Depends on my mood likely. But I'm definitely impressed.

I was sitting outside the cafeteria at the Copper Queen hospital eating my lunch. I had the book laying on the table next to my tray and two people of the four or five who passed by commented, "Oh, I love that book," and "That's my favorite book." Wow. John, who was across the table from me was impressed too, more than he was when I tried to explain to him what it was about. The copy I have is borrowed. Mary Walker my good fellow-reader buddy, loaned it to me. But I'm think I'm going to want to own my own copy. It's that good.

Here's a quote on fear: "I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know it. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always." His whole Chapter 56 is on this topic. Most excellently put. So well that it might make you feel fearful.

It's my belief that if you can get past fear, your life will flow more easily past the rocky places. Teach yourself a new response. I use anger sometimes, it's not good either, but it's better than fear. I want to get to the response of non-judgemental assessment without fear or anger.

Here's a quote on faith: "Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love - but sometimes it was hard to love." Couldn't agree more.
The reading guide in the back of the book had this question(#7): "There is a lot of storytelling in this religious novel. Is there a relationship between religion and story telling? Is religion a form of storytelling? Is there a theological dimension in storytelling?" The questions aren't as interesting to me as the fact that the author is calling the story of Pi's adventure a "religious novel". Admittedly, Pi's three-fold religious beliefs; Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity, are touched on in more than one place, but for me the overall story is simply an adventure.
Here's a quote on wonder: " At moments of wonder, it is easy to avoid small thinking, to entertain thoughts that span the universe, that capture both thunder and tinkle, thick and thin, the near and the far." I had more than one moment of wonder as a reader of the Life of Pi and I had many moments of laughter too.
Is this Yann Martel's masterpiece? Time will tell. I believe it to be a masterpiece but there may be more than one in him yet. Let's hope so for our own sakes. Thank you Mary Walker.