At the end of each month, I publish my favorite articles from around the web, books, and resources plus a mini-monthly review. This is one small way I express my support for other bloggers who offer compelling, inspiring, and/or smart content.
- The Soul Knows – Jan Lundy
- Walking Lightly, One Step at a Time – timethief
- Your Body Is More Than a Head Transportation Vehicle – Charlie Gilkey
- When Faced with Existential Loss: 6 Tips for a Bold Life – Halina Goldstein
- Why and How I Use Social Media – Joshua Becker
- The Power of Sankalpa (Intention) – Carrie Hemsley
- My Philosophy on Setting Goals – Barrie Davenport
- Life Without a Future – Manal Ghosain
- Are You Guilty of Ego-Based Blogging? – Annabel Candy
- Because You Feel So Strongly – Satya Colombo
Zen Under Fire
I’ve hardly put a dent in my summer reading list, but I jumped right in to reading Zen Under Fire: How I Found Peace in the Midst of War as soon as it was published. Marianne Elliot, the author, served as a U. N. Peacekeeper in Afghanistan and prior to that had worked in the Gaza Strip. Although she was no stranger to turbulence and conflict, an especially intense period in Afghanistan pushed her over the edge into traumatic stress.
Elliot describes Zen Under Fire in this way:
“It’s a memoir, a story of impotence and despair and the path I found from there back to service, through faith and action.”
If you yearn to create resilience in your life, this book is for you. Elliot journeys from hopelessness to clarity, despair to compassion, fragility to independence, trauma to resilience. She touches bottom, but with fierce determination decides to pull herself up. The unconventional tools she uses include yoga, meditation, and journal writing.
Elliot travels in armed convoys, a missile descends dangerously close to her home, and she has the heart-wrenching task of interviewing dislocated women and children who have lost their husbands, fathers, and homes in unthinkably violent ways. In between, she rolls out her yoga mat, and sits on her meditation cushion to discover that true courage, confidence, and resilience are born within. The simple practice of observing her own thoughts, liberates her from their tyranny, and begins to unravel the emotional bondage of trauma. Gradually, she’s no longer swept into volatile states of neediness, confusion, and despair, but instead finds her ground and confidence without sacrificing vulnerability or openness of heart.
While reading Zen Under Fire, you will be intimately transported into the landscapes and lives of Afghanistan, allowing you to see a people and culture in perhaps a new and a decidedly genuine way, far different than the nightly news. Your heart will break into a million piece, as you witness senseless tragedy. But, you will also be simultaneously uplifted by courage, humanity, and the bonds of friendship that go beyond culture, time, and place.
Zen Under Fire is not a light-weight read, but it’s a worthwhile one. Elliot provides an important opportunity to remember that most people in this world live simply or in poverty and strife, and thus to be lifted above one’s ordinary and sometimes petty concerns.
Dress with Less
The next official season of Project 333 begins on July 1st. If you would like to learn how to create a capsule wardrobe of 33 items, check our the Dress with Less Microcourse. I’ve switched to a wardrobe of 33 and have reaped all the benefits, which include saving time, money, headaches and freeing up your precious time for what’s really important in life.
The Dress with Less Microcourse is a collection of instructive, inspiring PDF’s, audio recordings, playlists and recorded webinars combined with a supportive private Facebook community. Try dressing with less for the summer season and see if it works for you.
The Heart of June: Prepare for Turbulence
I write articles like How to Deconstruct Pesky Thought Patterns and Wacky Emotional Habits as an anchor when I see my own stormy emotions brewing like a dark cloud gathering rain. I’m not immune to emotional disarray, which characterized the beginning of my month and poignantly reminded me:
- Everything is impermanent. Just when you get cozy and comfortable, it’s likely to change.
- Almost all of us are fueled by deep emotional wounds. If we realize this, when chaotic emotions arise, we can see an opportunity to heal and transform even the most deeply embedded scars. This is not easy, but it’s the way to happiness and peace.
- Never give up. Even when you are committed to living a peaceful and compassionate life, negative emotions will tease and taunt you from time to time. If you can see them for what they are, a dark mist soon to evaporate, you’ll find freedom and spaciousness. There even may be a rainbow coming out of the clouds. But even when you get swept away, forgive and feel compassion for yourself. Old habits are hard to break, and we all lose it sometimes. Stay committed, bring yourself back to the peace, love, and wisdom of your true self, and begin again.
Flavor of the Month: Breaking through, bit by bit.
How was your June? How do you prepare for turbulence?
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