Saturday, February 17, 2007

Two More Books

I've finished two books in the last two days and I'd like to mention them in a brief review. At first they will seem to be two completely different books, but as I think about the content of each , I realize how much there is in common.

The first is LIVING WITH PASSION by Peter L. Hirsch; he develops the "10 Simple Secrets That Guarantee Your Success," and I have to say it was a fabulous read. I heard him speak years ago, bought his book at that time, but just got around to reading it a few days ago. I guess it took me that long to be ready for what he had to say.

Very briefly the 10 Success Secrets he develops with anecdotes, reasoning and statistics are:
1. Challenge
2. Belief
3. Purpose and values
4. Conquering fear
5. Attitude
6. Focus
7. Commitment
8. Desire
9. Goals
10. Choice

There is nothing "new" about the principles, but his packaging is refreshing and I had a few "ah ha's" that were fresh for me, and about three book titles to consider developing my own take on these principles. The bottom line is the power of attraction and intention. There is never too much that can be said about the power of the Law of Attraction, that what we hold as our prevalent thoughts will be attracted to us. We simply are giant magnets.

The second book I finished a few hours ago is, TRUTH by Jacqueline Sheehan. It's a biographical, fictionalize historical novel based upon the life of Sojourner Truth, a black slave who overcame unbelievable challenges and left her mark on the world.

I first read her name in my American Literature text books, but I didn't know anything about her life. This book, TRUTH, was sitting on a shelf in the doorway of Wal Mart and begged me to take it home. I've had it about a year, and today was the day to read it, or rather finish it since I started it last night.

Let me share this one small part that I thought was note worthy, and a metaphor for all of us: She is talking about copperhead snakes, how the copperhead is a much maligned snake.

"The fact that she has poison in her fangs makes her honest and purely defensive when she isn't looking for a meal. 'Copperhead' came to mean something different when the full-out battle against slavery grabbed us all by the throat. Then it meant a northerner who was in favor of slavery. They picked too honest a creature to describe such a vile person.

"Here is what I learned from snakes, and the one I gathered the most from was the copperhead. When the sun warms the earth and wakes up all the animals from their winter sleep, when the snow is another year's memory, and when rocks are warm to the touch, then the snake takes notice and, with her boundless wisdom, emerges. I truly don't know where snakes go in the winter. It must be deep, because they would freeze and shatter if left exposed to one of our winters. But come midspring, when the bulb plants have burst through the earth, the snakes wake up.

"I like to find them on logs near a creek, sunning themselves, staying still for so long......The snake was unfairly hated. I knew what it was like to be despised on sight, to have lies told about me by people who knew nothing of my thoughts or actions. I gave snakes a chance until they proved themselves untrustworthy, which they never did. If you understood them, you could expect them to be perfectly honest.

"Their changing was what I most admire. At some point, their outer self grew tired, too tight, and had to be abandoned. They shed their old outer self like a full-length scab that must be scraped off. I had occasion to watch a snake or two leave her old self behind and emerge fresh and bright, aglow with colors begging for hope. It looked like birthing, hard groaning work, and the emerging body seemed to be unprotected. The old tube of skin hooked on a stickery bush, and the copperhead, with her dangerous eyes and honest fangs, was born different from before.

"I wanted to be sister to the copperhead; I wanted to shed my old outer self and emerge scarless, fresh, full of hope, to coil my body around a warm rock and flick my tongue for the whole sunny part of the day. I did not want to be who I was, where I was."

I can completely resonate with the idea of shedding the old and emerging new, but bless her wounded heart, her beautiful enslaved heart, I've never "did not want to be who I was;" I have so much for which to be grateful, we all do.

We've all experienced disappointments, pain, and heartache to one degree or another, but we've never known this kind of sorrow, cruelty, deprivation, and hardship. Compared to the lives the slaves had to endure, ours are rather cushy; and suddenly the spilled milk, muddy foot prints on the carpet, the clothes on the bedroom floor, the incessant noise of boisterous children, the undending sameness of motherhood take on a new meaning, something to be celebrated instead of cursed, for it means there was milk on the table to spill, and shoes on the feet to track mud, and carpets on the floor to be track upon, children with the freedom to make noise and express themselves, more clothes than the ones on their back, and even a bedroom instead of a cold, dirt floor one room cellar to live in. None of us have to worry about our children being taken from us when they're only six years old, sold to other slavers, never to see them again. Before she was born, Sojourner's mother had given birth to 12 children, and all of them were sold and taken away. Sojourner was sold when she was only 9 years old, and her younger brother, Peter, age six, was sold and she never saw him again.

So what do these two books have in common? It's simple really. Sojourner Truth lived what Peter Hirsch wrote about; she instinctively lived the principles of success facing challenges, holding onto beliefs, living on purpose and with her values intact, conquering her fears, keeping an attitude of being the best at her work, focusing on the possibility of freedom, being committed to freedom, her family, to God, never giving up her desires or goals.

I recommend both books. Oh, and I've started WAR AND PEACE. YIKES! This is going to be a challenge....:)

1 comment:

Me said...

I plan to start War and Peace this summer! I'll keep up with your blog to see what you think of it. I borrowed it from my brothers a few months ago and haven't had time to start it because of work and school, but I'm excited about it!!!

Good luck***

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