Doing Something Half-assed is Better Than Not At All

July 14, 2014
 A life lived only by the well, or a life worth living?

Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD — one of the earliest pioneers in the mind/body health field — includes a short chapter titled “Life is For the Well.”

Here she tells about one of her patients who had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and spent several years seeking help for her symptoms. She would go from doctor of doctor “obsessed with the minutest details of her physical problems, which she tracked in a daily journal.” She thought she had to be without symptoms to enjoy life to go the theater, to have children, to love.

It seemed to her that life could only be lived by the well.
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Books on My Shelf: Hand-Me-Down Wisdom

February 25, 2013
A book about opening our hearts to the wisdom of others


Books on my shelfBooks on My Shelf

From time to time I will give you excerpts and recommendations for books I have enjoyed very much. Some are serious, others light reading. Some are still in print, others not so but still worth getting from the library. Or, they can be ideas to add to your holiday shopping list.
If you buy these books using the links in the post, you can help support the upkeep of the Support4Change website and blog. Even if you aren’t planning on buying them, I still think you will enjoy reading the excerpts and my thoughts on these excellent books.

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My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen

Rachel Naomi Remen has written a wonderful companion to Kitchen Table Wisdom (reviewed here on the Support4Change blog). You will also want to savor each chapter, finding blessings of hope, kindness and compassion in each wise story and the profound lessons they eloquently express.

Although My Grandfathers Blessings : Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging uses a slightly different style than her earlier book, the author again uses a collection of essays to share stories that allow the reader to understand the lessons her patients, and their physicians, have learned about the abundance of blessings that come from opening our hearts to the blessing from others — and our ability to bless others through contributions we can make in every day’s interaction with others.

Although her grandfather isn’t the central figure in each story, she is able to carry into her adult life the lessons, insights, and blessings he taught so many years ago. It is almost as though he is still very much alive and sharing his simple, but not simplistic, lessons to all of us.

Remen writes:

Learning from life takes time. I rarely recognize life’s wisdom at the time it is given. Sometimes I am too distracted by something else that has caught my wandering eye, and not every gift of wisdom comes nicely gift-wrapped. I have often received such a gift only many years after it was offered. Sometimes I needed to receive other things first, to live through other experiences in order to be ready. Much wisdom is a hand-me-down. Like all hand-me-downs, it may be too big at the time it is given.

My Grandfathers Blessings is a blessing for anyone who is tries to navigate the trials of every day.

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Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website:


Common Sense in “Kitchen Table Wisdom”

December 23, 2006
Kitchen Table Wisdom offers excellent, warm, gentle advice for living a compassionate and less-stressful life.

If you want to give, or read, a book that offers a wonderful blend of advice and wisdom for living a compassionate and less-stressful life, you almost can’t do better than Kitchen Table Wisdom by a very special woman.  Some time ago I write a review of this book and began by saying:

Many years ago, at a seminar on guided imagery for healing, Rachel Naomi Remen began to share a relaxing, calming imagery for a group of several hundred clinicians when someone turned down the lights in the auditorium. She paused and said, “Please keep the lights on. I want you to know how to do this when you’re standing in a grocery line. It’s easy to find your calm center within when everything’s quiet and the lights are low, it’s much harder if life is going on around you.” Simple words. A wonderfully common-sense lesson. A beautifully compassionate, eloquent and common-sense woman.

In Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal the author has translated a wealth of life lessons, from her experience as a physician, professor of medicine, therapist, long-term survivor of chronic illness, and founder of Commonweal, a support group for people facing terminal illness, into simple, but not simplistic stories, with honesty and grace.

Take a look and then buy the book with some of the money you have left over from Christmas (since you took my advice and didn’t let guilt force you to spend more than you should have).