Tag Archives: habits

Whatcha reading?

One of my greatest pleasures is reading novels. I think life is always better when I have a good book going. Sometimes, however, life gets so busy that pleasure reading falls by the wayside. These are precisely the times that reading can be most helpful, providing a momentary escape into someone else’s life. In case you are looking for some recommendations, here are some of my latest reads:

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult — This is a fascinating tale told from the perspectives of a black labor and delivery nurse who is targeted as the scapegoat for an infant’s death and the baby’s parents who are angry, white supremacists. It was a challenging book that brings to light both the blatant and subtle effects of racism and white privilege. It’s eerily timely, given the events in Charlottesville, VA with protesting White Nationalists.

Lucia, Lucia, by Adriana Trigiani — about the love, family, work life of a young Italian-American woman fashion designer in Greenwich Village in the 1950’s

Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline — page-turning parallel stories of two resilient girls from different eras in the foster-care system

Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain — historical fiction about the fascinating life of Beryl Markham, the first woman to fly east to west across the Atlantic

Body Surfing, by Anita Shreve — quick read, especially perfect for the beach with its setting on the NH seacoast and its bodysurfing scenes

The Monk Who Lived Downstairs, by Tim Farrington — a sweet book about a single mother landlord and her former monk downstairs tenant

Good in Bed and the Next Best Thing, by Jennifer Weiner — humorous, light reads about the ups and downs of a plus-size columnist and a scarred, first-time Hollywood TV writer, respectively

Our local library had a book sale recently where I picked up a number of books by some of my favorite authors. It’s probably a good thing that I only had a $10 bill on me, which limited on how many books I could buy. I’m making my way through that stack. Once I finish, I’ll be looking for some book recommendations.

I’d love to learn what good books you’ve been reading lately,  so please share any recommendations.

 

Open Hearts

 

hearts

How do you hug? I know this is a rather odd question, but think about it for a moment. Do you put your arms around someone with your head toward the left and their head toward your right, or is it just the opposite? Perhaps because I’m right-handed, it’s always been my habit to hug toward the left. However, I’ve learned that hugging toward the right is best because that aligns your heart with the other person’s. While it may feel awkward to change your hugging habits, you’ll likely find that heart-to-heart hugs foster a deeper connection. The next time you go to hug someone remember, “Right is right” and hug in that direction to open your heart to the other person.

You may be thinking, “Whoa! I’m not going to open my heart to another. That’s too risky.” We’ve probably all experienced the pain of a broken heart at one time or another. In order to keep from being hurt again, you may have chosen to protect yourself by not allowing your heart to be open and vulnerable. While a certain degree of guardedness can be a good thing, for instance, not getting into a car with a stranger or taking on someone else’s misery can be wise self-preservation. However, closing your heart off pushes people away and can lead to loneliness and lack of intimate, meaningful connection.

Opening our hearts can make a positive difference in our lives and relationships. An open heart increases our ability to love, to forgive, to be generous and compassionate. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, when your heart is open to love, when you feel worthy of being loved (all love must begin with self-love), when you come from a place of love, that’s what you attract.

In addition to hugging the “right” way, there are a number of other practices that can create open hearts:

An easy place to start is with your posture, drawing your shoulders back and down while raising your sternum.

Praying on another’s behalf both opens and uplifts the heart.  Plus, it’s much more positive than worrying.

If you practice yoga, there are many poses that are heart-openers: Bridge, Wheel, Cobra, Upward-facing Dog, Fish, Bow, Camel, Gate, and Crescent.

The meditative practices of Loving-kindness and Tonglen increase your level of compassion for yourself and others.

What have you found most helpful in opening your heart?