Thursday, 7 March 2019

Aren't all books for mind, body, or soul?

I wanted to chassé down the aisle of the train as I returned from Liverpool back to Edinburgh on Tuesday evening. I’d had a very hectic couple of days which usually results in either sheer exhaustion or exhilaration.

As exhilaration started to emerge, I looked at my playlist and started to listen to the songs I like to sing at the top of my voice - when alone anyway 😉. Songs that transport me to another place, and allow me to forget the fatigue, and to connect in with the satisfaction of a blinkin’ good couple of days.

As the opening lines of the third track started “Five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes” I gave an almighty “aghhh” and my body relaxed.

It’s a song from Rent and is titled “seasons of love”. 

The song invites us to think about how we measure a year i.e. those five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes – with suggestions for measures such as sunrises, sunsets, laughter, tears, cups of coffee or the ultimate - love?

No swims mentioned though - even if that's about the only thing I do measure (111/7/2 being my all time/this year/this month's tally since recently starting open water swimming again)!

With World Book Day fast approaching, my mind wandered to thinking about how we measure the books we read? 

Do we measure our books like minutes in simple numbers – one book a month, 12 a year, or do we measure them by the impact they’ve had? Perhaps one book a year being sufficient if it’s met our needs over that time? 

Books, much like songs, have the power to inspire, motivate, inform, expand comfort zones, calm, challenge, anger, sadden, or simply transport us to another place. Our choice of book in any moment reflecting the outcome we’re wanting. 

Once home, and by way of letting go of my day and getting ready for sleep, I searched my kindle for the appropriate book to read. Jumping from fiction to non fiction and back. 

Thrillers, and some coaching books were discounted. Then I spied 'Waterlogged' about Roger Deakin's open-water swimming trip in various locations in the UK, and knew that was perfect. Swimming and that connection to nature provided just the right end to my day as sleep crept in to work on my fatigued mind, body and soul.

Is that the true measure of a book -  the ability to meet our need in that moment to nurture mind, body and/or soul? 

I wonder, is that why so many of us traditionally buy our books at the airport or station as we head for our holidays? A time when our awareness is alive to what will support us most at this time – for some pure escapism into science fiction, for others a good thriller or crime novel, and for others to catch up on the latest historical. political, economic, sociological, technological, legal, ethical or environmental research, trends or thinking. 

It’s interesting I think to consider that if all any book does is meet our mind, body and/or soul needs, why the genre my own book falls within is only a subset of all genres, not the mechanism by which all books are categorised. 

Self help is similar – a fiction book for some providing all the self help that reader requires.

I wonder if it were more broadly recognised that all books are for mind, body and soul, and that we read in order to provide self help to ourselves, how our relationship with books categorised as such would change.

Instead of judging self help books as “not what I need right now” “it’s not got that bad – yet” “that’s for other people not me”, might we bring into our conscious awareness the help needed to support our mind, body, and/or soul, and then select the book(s) most able to meet that need in that moment.

What book would best meet your mind, body and/or soul needs today, and when will you take action to open it to allow it to take you on a journey from where you are to where you’d like to be?

EnJoy World Book Day.

Alison Smith
Landscaping your life to get back on track. +44(0)7770 538159

My mind, body and soul classified book, Can’t see the wood for the trees, is written for those times when your mind is unsure what to do. You may be feeling lost, and confused. Yet you are able to describe the situation, even if in terms such as: 
  • Can't see the wood for the trees, or 
  • Being stuck in a rut, 
  • Going round in circles, 
  • Being out on a limb
  • Feeling like a fish out of water
  • Being up a creek without a paddle, or even 
  • Treading water. 
All sayings we use when we’re stuck – and yet, with a little help, can also provide the solution. 

As we allow nature to be our coach, nature’s landscapes to be metaphors for our lives, the solutions can really be found in the woods, creeks, ruts and circles of our imagination.

To find out more, why not treat yourself to this feast for mind, body and soul and help yourself to get back on track now, or at any time in the future when options are eluding you and logic isn't helping much. It's certainly a book best read at the time of need - dipping into the chapter that resonates in that moment to provide insight to get you back on track. #LandscapingYourLife 

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