Categories
Books life lessons

Inspirational John O’Donohue quotes.

I received ‘Walking in Wonder’ by John O’Donohue for my birthday. Krista Tippett proclaims in the foreword, ‘This book that you now hold in your hands is a treasure.’ and I concur. Reading this book felt like finding a fifty dollar bill in the pocket of an old coat; unexpected delight followed by a lucky feeling.

The book is split into 9 Chapters. Each chapter is filled with deep thought, quotes from John’s teachers and conrads, and poetry, delicious John O’Donohue poetry that is seasoned with wisdom like a salty Michelin star tenderloin. Let me share some of John’s inspired words from this work with you.

You can actually go back into yourself to great things that have happened to you and enjoy them and allow them to shelter and bless you again… it’s sad when people don’t use their good memories and revisit again and again the harvest of memory that is within them and live out of the riches of that harvest rather than the poverty of woundedness.

John O’Donohue.

Instead of recalling past moments that were truly sublime, I am often sidetracked by disappointments. And so, after reading the above quote, I indulged myself. I closed my eyes, tilted my head back and remembered. And guess what happened? Joy and amazement right there in my living room. I found a pen and started writing my memories down. I could not help but say aloud to myself, ‘Wait, did that really happen?’ ‘I never dreamt that I would be there, doing that, with them.’

It is true and undeniably beautiful how good memories can make one feel like the richest person alive.

I think that we are infinitely greater than our minds and we are infinitely more than our images of ourselves.

John O’Donohue

Greater than our minds? More than our images of ourselves? Of course we are. There is so much we do not know about everything, so how can it be that we know everything about ourselves. I have a feeling that the purpose of ageing is to uncover more of who we are, to do what we as youths were frightened to dream, to dare to go beyond the images of ourselves that keep us from being fully alive.

The duty of privilege is absolute integrity.

John O’Donohue

I’ve got to tell you, this one stung.  It is my understanding that John is trying to tell his reader that to be true is the responsibility of the free, to waste  liberties on lies and falsities is a great error. Be it pretentious, light-weight living or the martyrdom of people pleasing, the privileged should have no higher goal than authentic living. John’s words encourage me to live deeply.  May we not be wasteful by following misleading voices and misdirected versions of ourselves.

Without integrity there can be no true integration.

John O’Donohue

Again John reminds his readers of the power and necessity of integrity. We can find no real connection without turning up for ourselves and as ourselves. He illustrates how false image stifles relationships and how deep connection with others is dependent on deep connection with ourselves. 

When who we are and who we like to be are the same person, this is the point of great discovery; the place where we can unveil truth after truth after truth.

Time is always full of possibility. It would be a great gift that an old person could give themselves, The gift of recognising the possibilities that are in that time and use their imagination.

John O’Donohue

John teachers ‘old age is a time of great freedom’. Not only do we gain more time for ourselves as we age but we also are freed from many of the concerns we may have had about our lives. The years teach us to let go. 

I like this thought. Ageing isn’t a shame, it’s a glory. The later years are not a time to stop dreaming, but rather a time to revel in the possibilities that have not been available till now. May we rid our minds of the notion that old age is wonderless, profitless, or to be scorned.

If you want to read “Walking in wonder’ you can pick up a copy here. Also Krista Tippett hosts an excellent podcast called ‘on being’ her conversation with John can be found here.

Here’s to reading that replenishes.

Categories
News Poetry

A free poetry chapbook for you.

I am continually inspired by what poets do to set flight to their poetry. Rupi Kaur released a one hour special of her sell out stage performance on Amazon Prime, Upile Chisala read and released her collected poems ‘as soft as fire’ on audiobook, Atticus poetry collaborated to create ‘Lost Poet’ wine, Sabina Laura released a beautiful poetry journal ‘a little sunshine and a little rain’ and the phenomenal Morgan Harper Nichols created a shop ‘Garden 24’ full of merch from tea towels to playing cards, as well as a unique ‘storyteller’ app.

From designing digital products to hosting poetry events and retreats. From creating unique membership sights to podcasting performance poetry, there is no doubt, poetry is in a renaissance as poets find a million different ways in which to ship their work out into the world.

After the release of my second inspirational poetry collection, ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing’, I realised I had caught the heart of this poetry renaissance. No longer did I just see a poetry book or two, but a creative business in which poetry is the lifeblood. I identified the next 3 steps I needed to take –  website, blog, newsletter, and in this, the last week of August I can say the website is complete, the blog is off and running and I have sent out my first newsletter.

But the creativity didn’t stop there.  As a ‘welcome gift’ for newsletter subscribers, I created a free digital chapbook, ‘Never Far’– poetry about peace. It consists of 25 poems that are paired with watercolour illustrations by Kristy Kvills. You can get it by signing up at the bottom of my homepage. Or take a peak at it on instagram.

Dedicated to ‘the sleepless’ the chapbook starts out with a poem listing 8 expressions of peace. Using place, the body, objects, virtues and the senses, the poem illustrates what peace is like. My objective was to give the reader a picture that would trigger a delicious feeling of calm while simultaneously communicating the qualities of peace. For example, the line, ‘A stone castle in a storm’ conveys that peace is more than the absence of chaos; it holds its own even when things are tempestuous.

peace

According  to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, peace is ‘a state of tranquility or quiet’, ‘freedom from civil disturbance’, ‘harmony in personal relationships’. Although these definitions hold true, whilst writing the chapbook I got the sense that there was something missing; something either in the back of my head or deep down in my heart was telling me to look closer. 

Upon a rather vigorous trip down into the burrows of the internet, I found the word ‘Shalom’. I had heard the word before, but had not retained its meaning. ‘Shalom’ is a Hebrew word that not only means peace (as defined above) but also encompasses words like wholeness, completeness, prosperity, harmony and welfare. In short, ‘Shalom’ shows us that peace isn’t just the absence of conflict, but it is a state of being when the body, mind, soul and spirit align.

Sometimes peace escapes us and it seems like all the world’s problems have to be solved before we can get it back. I wanted my work to show that this is a lie. Peace can come in an instant, it is as easy and as hard as surrendering to ultimate reality. Peace is born inside of us, is dependent on honesty and banks on trust. For this reason, I titled the chapbook ‘Never Far’.

My hope is that readers would use this free digital gift as tool to silence fears, explore shalom and regain peace.

Lauren xx

Categories
Bookish Things

12 bookish gifts every book lover wants.

Shopping for the book lover in your life is easier than ever. Not only can you lavish them with books from their favourite authors or book vouchers from their favourite bookstore, now there are a myriad of bookish gifts to choose from. Here are 12 fun bookish gift ideas every book lover wants.

1. ‘Go away, I’m reading’ mug.

I can’t think of a better combination than books and tea. This ceramic, black and white quote print mug says it all, and is perfect for the book lover who is not only passionate about reading but also loves a delicious herbal drop. Of course, coffee enthusiasts will adore it as well. 

2. ‘So many books. So little time’ face mask.

There was a time when we would not have believed that masks would be part of our everyday attire. However, since 2020 masks have not only become essential but also an object of self expression, much like jewelry and  other accessories. This comfortable mask is a way for a book lover to identify themselves. It is printed with the classic book quote, ‘So many books. So little time’ and is washable, breathable, eco-friendly and conveniently has an adjustable strap. There’s no doubt bookish folk with love this unique bookish gift.

3. ‘My weekend is all booked’ tote bag.

Every book lover needs a bookbag! Whether it is to lug their favourite reads home from the library or to fill up at an annual book fair, this cute creamy oatmeal colored tote with  type design is perfect. It measures approximately 15 x 15, has long handles and is comfortable to carry on the shoulder.

4. ‘Society of obstinate headstrong girls’ cosmetic/travel bag.

Lets face it, there are book lovers and then there are Book Lovers! And then there are JANE AUSTIN BOOK LOVERS!!!! This ‘Society of obstinate headstrong girls’  pouch cosmetic/travel bag is multifunctional, made of high quality canvas material that is durable and water resistant and comes with a sturdy gold zip.

5. Abstract Art Prints.

Most writers have a desk or writing room. This set of 3 unframed abstract prints are  ideal for decorating a study or a writer’s bedroom. Each print is printed on a high-definition modern giclee canvas and  features a line drawn woman reading a book. These simple yet elegant wall pictures are an impressive gift for all bookish types. 

6. ‘Keep calm and read a book’ pillowcase.

All booklovers know that there are two essential things to settling down to read on any given rainy Sunday afternoon; a great book and a comfy spot. This 18 x18 inch ‘Keep calm and read a book’ high quality throw pillow case is both durable and stylish. Why not give it as a gift to a member of your book club or a book lover friend.

7. Flying Book Socks.

Bookish people love anything and everything about reading. Bookish apparel is no exception. Whether its hats, tee shirts, hoodies or socks a true book lover will love the thought of wearing bookish threads from head to toe. These women’s 85% cotton socks, black with coloured flying books, have stretch for all day comfort and reinforced heel and toe for extra wear. Give as a stocking filler at Christmas or surprise your helpful  librarian.

8. Bookish Notebook.

Writers are readers! Whether your bookish friend is only a reader or a reader and a writer, they will love and need notebooks. With a plethora of choices and though many bookish people have their favourites, notebooks are one of the top gifts enjoyed by book lovers. This 6×9 inch ‘Bookish Notebook’ by moon dust books is 120 pages of lined paper within a cute paperback cover. Perfect for creative musings.

9. Book Pendant Necklace.

Jewelry  is most treasured when it exudes meaning. This book pendant necklace will make your book lover feel seen and known. Complete  with a 17 inch chain, it is an inspirational piece crafted from high polished stainless steel. It is hypoallergenic, long lasting and packaged in a high quality velvet jewelry pouch, ready for giving.

10. Bookish pencils.

‘Book Geek’ is one of my favourite places to scroll and shop. They offer unique, quirky, and gorgeous bookish gifts for all book geeks! This fun set of six HB pencils with different bookish phrases on each pencil is a delightful gift for your book lovers who are also teachers, writers, librarians or booksellers. Pencil text includes: I Like Big Books,  Just My Type,  Eat, Sleep, Read, Repeat, The First Rule of Book Club,  I Believe in Tea and Books and  The Book Was Better. Cute.

11. ‘Just one more page’ enamel pin.

What is cuter than a hedgehog sitting on a book reading? Nothing! This cute enamel pin by Book Geek is an ideal gift for the girl who is always engrossed in reading. She is the type that gets caught up in story and would rather read than do anything else. Tuck it into a card and surprise her with a random bookish gift sent in the post.

12. Personalised leather bookmark.

Whether they’re inclined to crease the corners, use a napkin, use a piece of string or a ribbon, bookmarks are integral to every book lover’s reading experience. This personalised leather bookmark by Vantler Leather is designed and handmade in Australia. Being 11cm x 2cm it fits up to 20 characters including spacing and will remain a treasured keepsake for years to come.

Categories
Books

5 books to help heal the heart.

Sometimes we need prose, we know, has been laboured for, by poet,  prophet or prequel; void of chiche, stereotype or fleeting trend. Quotes and phrases that cry out to be underlined, highlighted, circled or copied down, whether in a social media post or within the pages of a personal journal.

Throughout my life, I have used words as a floatation device, a breathing apparatus, a flashlight, an umbrella, a ladder, a walking stick, a scalpel, and a get out of jail free card. On occasion when I wake in the early ‘am’ hours, my first instinct is to reach for one of the many books that live on my bedside table. I browse the pages looking to still my swirling mind; to find a delicious combination of letters and symbols that will send me back to sleep and season my dreams. 

I didn’t know it, but these early morning reading sessions had a name. The word ‘bibliotherapy’ comes from the ancient greek words for ‘book’ (biblion) and ‘healing’ (therapeia). It means ‘to use reading as a way to assist the healing process.’  Although I had never heard of the term, reading worked; the right words worked on me.  

Recently I discovered ‘The power of poetry, with Helena Bonham Carter and Jason Isaacs’ on YouTube. In this video, the work of many poets is read aloud from William Sieghart’s book ‘The Poetry Pharmacy’ as a way of demonstrating how poetry can provide a remedy for a number of emotional conditions. From purposeless to assisting aging parents; from loneliness to loss of zest for life, ‘The Poetry Pharmacy’ provides ‘tried and true prescriptions for the heart, soul and mind’.

After experiencing first hand the power of poetry to help the healing process, I became a collector of poems and poetry books. The following is a list of some of the books that I have collected, and how they help.

Nocturnal – by Wilder. For those recovering from heartbreak and rediscovering self.

To Be Remembered – by R.Clift. For those suffering loss, learning to let go and live with memories of what could have been.

Where hope comes from – by Nikita Gill. For those needing light to navigate our time and hope in seasons of loneliness.

Letters to a young poet – by Rainer Maria Rilke. For those needing creative impulse and surge of passion and courage.

Devotions – by Mary Oliver. For those in need of wonder, beauty and invigoration.

Reflecting on such curative works, spark the memory of a mild spring day in 2016,

‘I sat across from an Italian emissary. This is what he told me. Write. Let your tears become the waters that refresh others.’

And so I did. I do.  And so can you too, do what you do, for the flourishing of a world so precious and the healing of hearts, including your own.