- Reflections on aging
- Fear of the unknown
- Discussions about adoption
- Memories upon memories
Back to Blue Nights. There were many things that stuck with me, one of them being, oddly enough, a moment when Didion essentially says "I know that a lot of people who read my books don't think I or my family can really suffer, because we are rich" and then goes on to ask how people can think like that, and how you can discount one person's suffering because it is different from another's. 100% my life is better than someone living in a refugee camp, and Joan Didion's life was certainly more interesting than mine, but I do no understand people who refuse to sympathize or empathize with people because they are wealthy or famous or have famous friends. Her husband and daughter died within months of each other! That is excruciating no matter how much money you have.
The Art of Communicating by Thich Nacht Hanh is one of the gentlest books I've read, and I loved it. There are tenets of Buddhism which I do not agree with, but I am not one for throwing babies out with bathwater, and this book has so many babies in it and so little bathwater that it is definitely worth your time. Thich Nhat Hanh talks about communication as food, and how it is good to make sure you are getting the right kind of nourishment. He talks about the "six mantras" which are basically ways to make sure you are using loving speech, which I am hella on board with.A selection of things to say to people (or yourself), in your own words: "I am here for you," "I know you are here for me, and that makes me happy," "I know you suffer and that is why I am here for you," "I suffer, please help," "This is a happy moment," and "You are partly right."
I won't be able to explain this book and its ideas as well as Thich Nhat Hanh can so you should probably just read this book. Love and compassion are for everyone, and mindfulness is not limited to Buddhism, and oh my goodness it is so beneficial to make a practice of taking a deep breath before speaking, especially in more tense conversations. Communication! It's important.
I probably don't have to tell the book blogging world that Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck is par excellance, and that having the author read the book is delightful, and that I listened to the last essay in the collection twice in a row because it was that good.
Sometimes I think that I am doing well in the arena of being indifferent to my looks (but in a good way) and then I read Nora Ephron talk about the things she does to maintain her appearance and I remember all the lotions and haircuts and waxing appointments and supplements I make use of, and I say "wow, I am not nearly as chill about my looks as I thought." It's a bit of a disappointing revelation, until I remember how far I've come in the realm of body-acceptance (really far) and I cease being disappointed, and recall that all my make-up wearing and hair-removing is done for no one but my own self, because I like it. TAKE THAT, weird self-imposed expectations of cultural defiance!
TO SUM UP:
All three of these books are great and I need to read more Joan Didion.