….and taking them with me.
As I packed up my books yesterday to move house, I laughed to myself that once again I was filling boxes with same books that I have packed and unpacked through several moves over the years.
On each move I have persuaded myself to tighten my criteria for those that make the cut, and those that head down to the charity shop.
Those that make it into the boxes (and this time it was all of them… I could not seem to narrow down any more) are more to me than just that they are books, or wall decoration, or shelf fillers.
They’re like my friends, part of my team who accompany me in my life, who shape me, and guide the decisions and choices I make.
These sixty or so titles mean something to me. Some play a role in marking events and past experiences. Some are my future, titles as yet unread like A Thousand Splendid Suns and When God was a Rabbit. Some are my present, my research and source material that help shape the vision for Living in Flowmotion, and my consultancy work. They are my inspiration, my values, what I think about when I feel like I am having a hard time and need to regain some perspective. I could no sooner throw Nelson Mandela’s book away than turn my back on one of my friends. I stood in front of Nelson Mandela, with 100,000 other cheering people, at Wembley, at the celebratory concert following his release from prison. We cheered so long he had to beg us to stop so that he could finally speak. What an example of one person’s ability to change the lives of so many others by his own courage and determination to stand for a cause and to never give up.
Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void is another that I will not leave behind, an epic and deeply personal journey of survival from a seemingly impossible situation. His self-belief determination and life force got him off the mountain, when serious injuries, the treacherous mountain terrain, the weather, severe dehydration and exhaustion, all stacked the odds up against him.
Both these are my reminders that whatever I am struggling with is probably less important than I imagine! That the pain or suffering, or difficult moment I think I am experiencing is probably not that important in the great meaning-of-life sense. They are also remind me that most things – the important ones and the trivial – are achieved one step at a time, by persistence, by courage and conviction and by knowing that every minute, every step and every tiny move is a move forward.
The other two titles, and Water, are both books about the human body. The Body Bears the Burden by R. Scaer, M.D. describes the cellular reaction we have to shock and how we do carry trauma, however small, on through life. Our bodies are composed of 1 trillion cells, each of which carries and passes on to its successors every experience we have. It’s a fascinating walk through the human experience from a cellular perspective.
Your Body’s Many Cries For Water by F. Batmanghelidj M.D. unsurprisingly is about water, about dehydration, how common it is and how we may be contributing to the disease process simply by not drinking enough.
We are 70% water. It is one of my pet nags. Drink water. Six to eight glasses a day. It’s odd that we resist and excuse this simple task. Here are my top three reasons people don’t drink water:
- “I don’t remember to…” Err, maybe use a reminder of some sort, like a phone alarm or something if you have a phone…..?
- “I don’t want to have to keep going to pee..” But yes! That’s your wonderful kidneys in action flushing out your body’s waste and bi-products of metabolism and keeping you healthy. Yay!
- And, perhaps my favourite, “I don’t like the taste of water…” You don’t have to like it. Just drink it. You don’t need to like it any more than you like or dislike brushing your teeth or getting dressed.
Do it and it becomes habit, and once it’s a habit you won’t forget, and because being hydrated will make you will feel sooooo much better, you won’t stress about getting up to pee. It’s a good reason to leap to your feet if your work is sedentary, anyway.
See? I do go on about water…..
These, I realise, are books that I will lug from house to house and recommend to my friends and persuade people to read, and quote in blogs and magazine articles, seminars and workshops, and discuss with wine over dinner …
These four titles really mean something to me because they are about choice, change and meaning. Choices we have, we make and why and how we do what we do.
Which four titles are meaningful to you? And why?
A Happy and meaningful New Year to you!