So I set a new reading goal for 2022. I’d like to read 24 books this year, two books a month. I’m thrilled to say that I’m already ahead of the game for January, as there have been many events this month that have given me cause to escape. It’s been a hard month. But anyway, January’s books were Untamed by Glennon Doyle and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Before beginning any reviews, I’d like to thank whatever divine providence brought these two books to me at this time in my life. The timing was uncanny, and these two books, though very different, have very similar themes. And here we go.
Author: Glennon Doyle
Why I read it: This book was recommended by a friend several months ago, and apparently I downloaded the audio book when I had some free audible credits and I forgot that I owned it until I finished another book on my kindle and found myself with nothing to read.
Synopsis: Untamed is all about finding your way to your most true and beautiful life by unlearning and unbecoming all of the things the world has expected of you as a human (particularly a female human but not exclusively, the patriarchy hurts men too).
Reaction: I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. This book spoke to me on so many levels, as a woman of a certain age living in the world, as a mother raising kids in the digital age, and just as a human trying to navigate my humanness. This book is like the wisdom of the ancients, but rather than some pointy headed man pontificating at you, it’s like having coffee with your girlfriend while the two of you untangle life’s challenges together. There were so many times I found myself thinking “YES!! THIS!!” These are the words for so many things I have been feeling but could not say. And I was thrilled when we got to the part about raising sons. And the way she tackles challenging scenarios with wisdom, humor, and wit. So relatable, so easy to love. Highly recommend this book.
“This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”
“I can feel everything and survive. What I thought would kill me, didn’t. Every time I said to myself: I can’t take this anymore — I was wrong. The truth was that I could and did take it all — and I kept surviving. Surviving again and again made me less afraid of myself, of other people, of life. I learned that I’d never be free from pain but I could be free from the fear of pain, and that was enough.”
“In my thirties, I learned that there is a type of pain in life that I want to feel. It’s the inevitable, excruciating, necessary pain of losing beautiful things: trust, dreams, health, animals, relationships, people. This kind of pain is the price of love, the cost of living a brave, openhearted life — and I’ll pay it. There is another kind of pain that comes not from losing beautiful things but from never even trying for them.”
Author: Paulo Coelho
Why I read it: I bought this book several years ago and it’s been in my TBR pile. I bought it because it seemed like the kind of thing I should read, I liked the cover, and it was recommended for anyone with wanderlust. I finally read it because my work colleague texted me and said “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT!”
Synopsis: The Alchemist is the story of a shepherd boy’s journey to himself. He visits a gypsy woman to have a recurring dream interpreted, and she tells him his treasure lies in the pyramids of Egypt. (This part reminded me of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure… “Your bicycle is in the ALAMO! In the BASEMENT!”) Along the way he meets a cast of characters, each of whom teaches him something important and guides him along the path to his treasure. Throughout his journey he follows omens, he learns to listen to his heart, and ultimately he learns that his treasure has been inside him all along. But he did get to see the pyramids and isn’t that neat?
Reaction: This book reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It takes you on a beautiful journey and teaches timeless life lessons along the way.
“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”
“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.”
The reason I wanted to thank divine providence for bringing these books to me is because these books, as different as they are, share a common theme. Listen to your heart. Trust your knowing. Your intuition is a gift. At a time when I’ve been looking outwardly for affirmation, for guidance, for help, these books reminded me that everything I need to achieve my ‘personal legend’ is already in me. I’m grateful for the reminder.
I happened upon this tree while I was walking my dog and I was so struck by it. The tree has grown up through the fence, and now the fence is a part of the tree. I thought, well, it’s kind of like life, isn’t it? We don’t get to choose the circumstances into which we are born, or the obstacles and challenges we will face. But we were meant to grow through them. Our challenges make us who we are. They grow us into who we are meant to be.
That, and it also looks like the tree ate the fence.