Help, Thanks, Wow Review

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This will be a short informal style review, with “spoilers” as this is a non fiction book.

I don’t talk much about religion because I believe religion is a personal choice and if someone asks I am happy to talk about it, but in general I don’t really feel like pushing my thoughts and beliefs to others (nor do I want them to push theirs to me, thank you very much). However, this review will talk a bit about religion, so feel free to skip it.

Before I bought this book and it arrived I had been in a bit of a rut. I felt sad, kind forgotten and felt like I wanted to believe more, but at the same time, I am not big on churches, so wanted something that would refresh my faith and my brain. I prayed that the next book that I decided to read of non fiction would be the right one.

It was. Help, Thanks, Wow is written by Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird (one of those books that are recommended reading about how to write). And mostly it explains what she calls the 3 essential prayers. You can “sum up” all prayers into one. And I have to say it makes sense. I have never been one to pray a long flowery litany of words out loud. My prayers are full of doubts, questions, anger, pleas and so much more, they are raw. And I kept thinking this was not the best as I couldn’t pray the way others do.

This little book however explains that your prayers can be so simple. A “Help me God/being/universe/whatever, I just can’t cope with the world today” is perfectly fine. It also reminds you that each day is a new day and that things don’t work perfectly, so your prayers aren;t answered the way you want them to. This made me smile, because I hate it when people tell you that your prayer wasn’t answered because you didn’t pray hard enough or something is wrong with you, or things like that.

It can also be a “Thanks for letting something happen (or not)”. Which I tend to do a lot for example I pray “thanks for letting me catch the bus in time”. They are really short, and I do them throughout bthe day (peppered with the Help ones too).

The final prayer is “Wow”. This is are for the breathtaking, for the surprises, for the sunset or sunrise that is just amazing. For that letting out the breath you didn’t realise you were holding…

Reading through it all was refreshing and made me feel like I wasn’t all the wrong and that having questions and challenging beliefs (in my own beliefs) is not a problem or something to be afraid of. Questions, pleas, anger, are good. It means it is a faith that is alive. And I like that. This little book gave me a new breath, a refresh and it was quick and easy and good to read.

I am glad I read it and I have got some more of her books to read once I need a pump of energy and faith.

Japonisme Review

On one of my visits to Waterstones Piccadilly, I stumbled upon several Japanese themed books, with so many choices it was hard to see which one would be more interesting for me to read (and also which one I would actually be interesting in applying to myself).

I did try the Marie Kondo one and wasn’t wowed by it, so I have been wary to do this crazy trend thing (mostly because I already only keep useful or joyful things, try to keep things to minimal except books, tsundoku).

Thankfully while I was browsing online the options, I stumbled upon this little gem. (I say little because it is a relatively little book).

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Japonisme by Erin Niimi Longhurst

A Japanese-inspired guide to living a happier, more fulfilled life.

Japonisme explores the Japanese art of finding contentment and includes practical tips and tricks to live a happier, healthier, more thoughtful life.
What is your ikigai (purpose)? How do you practice mindfulness in the unpredictability and chaos of everyday life?
From shinrinyoku (forest bathing), calligraphy, ikebana (fl ower arranging) to tea  ceremonies and their approach to food, the Japanese have found contentment through traditions, philosophies, and the practice of art. This book shows how we can all incorporate aspects of Japonisme into our daily lives.
Enhance your lifestyle and enrich your mind by looking at life through the lens of wabi-sabi (the transient nature of life), kintsugi (repairing broken ceramics with gold) or kaizen (habit-forming techniques), in an accessible, practical way.

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I preordered this little book hoping it’d give me a good panorama of Japanese ways and traditions, and I have to say I was not wrong. It does so beautifully, to the point that it includes tips, ideas and little prompts on how to do some of the things (for example, it has a few recipes).

It felt like a very good summary of all the possible philosophies and ways of life that are unique to the Japanese, and as such, it was a great read, it also helped me think which ones I would like to explore more and which ones I didn’t have much of an interest in. (Not that I don’t, just priorities, basically).

All in all a good read, it was relatively quick to read and easy to do so, and it has a lot of pictures which make it easier on the eyes and also to see the things that are being referred to.

Moon recommends

Checking this lovely book out. Otherwise, you can try Marie Kondo’s tidying method, or go search for other Japanese traditions.

 

The Gift of Silence Review

This little book was provided to me thanks to bookbridgr and the publisher, and it took me a while to pick it up (mostly because I wanted to give it the proper attention).

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The Gift of Silence by Kankyo Tannier

Do you struggle to find peace and quiet? Do you yearn to disconnect, find an escape, slow down and just breathe? Are you overwhelmed by modern life?

The simple solution lies in this book.

Rooted in the ancient Zen philosophies that ground her work, French Buddhist nun, Kankyo Tannier, will show you how to channel the power of SILENCE to get back in control of your thoughts and access the refuge that lies in your mind. Using her practical on-the-go tools, you’ll learn how to overcome stress and capture the moments of golden stillness that will transform all areas of your life, for an enhanced wellbeing and sense of fulfilment. Kankyo’s warm and engaging voice, spiritual insights, plus a sprinkling of French charm make this an accessible pleasure to read.

Switch off the noise and discover the calm and comfort you need to navigate this fast-paced world.

Unlock and practise the wisdom of SILENCE; stop surviving, pause, listen, and start thriving.

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Once I picked it up and actually started reading, I was hooked. I have read other meditation books and similar but most of them make it sound so “easy” when it just doesn’t click for me.

That wasn’t the case with this one. Kankyo actually gives you examples of how she failed and how she struggled and what made the difference in her case, which helps you try to figure out what works best. As I read, silence was more appreciated (I usually do a few of the things she suggests, so it wasn’t new to me, but put together it was a nice read).

I felt like I was chatting with a friend about silence and medcitation rather than a guru, and that made it a lot more approachable, more “human” and just nicer to read. It is also relatively short and full of resources which is a nice turn to it.

Moon recommends

I don’t usually review books similar to hers, so I have to say that I can only recommend hers as it is one I ahve enjoyed reding and found that it reminded me to make pockets of silence and mind peace.