Saturday, July 14, 2007

Heart Advice

Several of us in my little circle of the blogosphere seem to be going through major life transitions -- career, marriage, or just general "what's it all about, Alfie" kinds of stuff. Four book recommendations, one of which I've made before.

In When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd she writes, "The life of the spirit is never static. ... That's the sacred intent of life, of God -- to move us continuously toward growth, toward recovering all that is lost and orphaned within us and restoring the divine image imprinted on our soul. And rarely do significant shifts come without a sense of our being lost in the dark woods, or in what T.S. Eliot called the 'vacant interstellar spaces.'"

Joyce Rupp, author of the devotional guide Dear Heart, Come Home: The Path of Midlife Spirituality, worked for years with "Midlife Gatherings" as she worked through her own midlife issues. She discovered: "The most common and consistently repeated theme of the respondents was that of control -- recognizing their limitations and letting go of the belief that, if they just worked hard enough or figured things out well enough, they could make life go the way they wanted it to go."

Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times reminds me, "Chaos is part of our home ground. Instead of looking for something higher or purer, work with it just as it is."

Finally, to include a man and a book without "heart" in the title, I recommend Richard Rohr's Everything Belongs. The title pretty much captures the essence of the book. It's not about running away from the mistakes, the chaos, the discomfort. They are all part of the picture, part of how we discover who we are.

What are you reading these days?


pj said...

LJ, I am reading several collections of short stories by Important Authors. The books have gorgeously designed covers, which feature snooty blurbs of praise written by other Important Authors. The stories are standard pretensious literary crap, and feature much unloving sex and a horrible death or two.

Bitter about my chosen profession? Me???

Other than that, my life is unsettled and I could probably benefit from the books on your list. Sigh.

pj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pj said...

Sorry to double-post. Blogger's acting up today.

Diane said...

I'm reading a mystery right now...In the Bleak Midwinter. I love what you said about Richard Rohr's book. I think I need that. I also brought on vacation Three cups of Tea, but stuck with the mystery. Also brought some poetry.

Diane said...

poetry by Jane Kenyon

lj said...

PJ, I know whatcha mean about the IAs and their PLC. Doesn't reflect on you or your profession, though.

Diane, I don't know Jane Kenyon -- where should I start?

Diane said...


btw, she only has a couple of books, as she died in 1995 or 96. I just picked up a collection called "Otherwise", which has what might be her most famous poem.

Jan said...

Those are all good books. Because I have to write a paper for the Shalem Institute, I am reading Gerald May's books, "Will and Spirit," and "Care of Mind, Care of Spirit." If you haven't read his book, "The Awakened Heart," I recommend it.

Diane said...

here's the poem Otherwise, by Jane Kenyon. You can be the judge if you'd like to read other poems.

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It ight
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

lj said...

ah, simple, elegant truth. Thanks, Diane.

lj said...

Jan, Hi! I took a Shalem course, as well. Which one are you taking? I loved Gerry dearly. He died shortly after my year at Shalem ended. What a loss. Yep, he's great. Good recommendations.

eileen said...

LJ Just made the pile on my nightstand/in my office grow larger with these recommendations!

Diane said...

I like Gerald May's Addiction and Grace. Read it a long time ago.

Yeah, my pile keeps getting bigger too. I have to start going to the library (instead of buying).