When I was a spotty, pox-marked, know-it-all, got-life-figured-out teenager, I had a friend who used to quote something to me, and it has never left me.
The quote she said at any given opportune moment was:
For time that was, and time that may be,
But do not waste time, or time will waste thee.
I’ve never figured out where it comes from, (so if you know it comment below), but the closest thing that I can find is from Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of Richard the Second, Act 5, Scene 5:
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”
Nevertheless, as I have said, it has never, ever left my consciousness. Little did I know at that time, that a singular quote from my equally as pox-marked high-school friend would have such a profound difference to my personal life choices.
I mean let’s face it, my friend’s quote sounds like a toast made before one of those “here hold my beer” moments. It could be assigned to explain away any slew of bad choices, and is probably the mentality of every high-school graduate who is taking a ‘gap year’ to ‘find themselves’ before ‘settling down into a career.’
For me though, it became a mantra. A sort of strange philosophy decorating my decision-making paradigm. Whatever happens, for good or bad, waste time not, for time shall tick on! Grasp every opportunity, have a daily plan to take over the world, take no prisoners, and live to the fullest. Appreciate all that you can while you can, strive for joy, waste no time on drama or silliness, and have an attitude of gratitude.
It’s worked for me, and along the way, I have met so many friends and foe that remind me of it – to live life so that at the end of my days, on my deathbed, I have no regrets about wasted moments or opportunities lost.
Sounds simple right? Not so much. It takes a bit of effort to find joy and fulfillment because there is so much around us to be plain miserable at. It’s a Monday, and your car died this morning, and your boss is hassling you, and all of the traffic lights changed to red just for you; it’s hard to put a smile on your dial!
But in all of the chaos, the power is in finding gratitude for what you do have, even the smallest of things. For example, did you know that according to Randy Alcorn:
If you have sufficient food, decent clothes, live in a house or apartment, and have a reasonably reliable means of transportation, you are among the top 15% of the world’s wealthiest people.
This is from Randy Alcorn’s Money, Possessions and Eternity, pg. 291
You can get Randy’s book HERE!
An attitude of gratitude people! Don’t waste time on anything else, grasp life’s possibilities by the balls and don’t look back.
So, today, in an effort to share joy and gratitude with the 3 people who follow my blog (just kidding, there’s like 5 of you), I am going to combine my book challenge category of: “A Recommended Title,” with a top ten list of books that share joy and gratitude. AND I’m going to tell you now that I recommend these, so you can use them, if you want to, for your own book in this challenge category.
Without further ado (after all, I wouldn’t want to waste your time), here are ten books that share joy, love, life and an attitude of gratitude.
Selection 1: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
So, this is the book that I started with and it was, (as I am told by my mother) not revolutionary in ideology (i.e. there is nothing major in it that is so different from other books on the subject). But if you want an overview of finding joy, having gratitude and living life to its full potential, then have a read. It’s very easy, you’ll probably get done in a day. There is also a film which I find very uplifting when I need it. From this book I got the value of making a vision board (which you should try, because it is a bit of fun and because my vision boards have always manifested themselves). This is light reading, it made me happy and, most importantly, it is available at your library, so take a visit and check it out.
Selection 2: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
This one was recommended by my mother and I’m finishing it up now. Once again on the topic of gratitude and finding joy, it outlines the very things that get in our way when we think of living life to the fullest. It summarizes ancient Teotihuacan beliefs and the idea that we can find personal power in all the right ways by studying and understanding ancestral wisdom of those older and happier than us. This is less of a light read than the secret, but you’ll still get it done in a day.
Selection 3: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
On to our first fiction work which is actually based on a true story (you’ve probably noticed the smug face of Julia Roberts on the movie trailers) but this is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert who had everything that a woman could want: home, relationships, career; and yet felt wholly unsatisfied. It is her journey to finding joy by trekking an amazing adventure through Italy, India and Bali. There was mixed reviews on this book but love it or hate it, it does bring up the resounding question of: who am I and why am I here?
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
So once again, you are probably aware of the film; but did you know that it is also a profound and adorable short story by James Thurber? Something about this tale resounds with me. First of all, Thurber is witty and the short-story is funny. But I think it’s something about the story of someone that suddenly comes to the realization that life is meant to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. So, read the book and then watch the film. It’s quirky but you’ll appreciate the story and then the film’s beautiful cinematography and soundtrack too. Also, the film very much features the mission of Life magazine, which was: “Where there’s life, there’s hope,” (Oct, 1936) then became: “To see Life; to see the world” (1957), but in the film is quoted as:
To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
A great thing to keep in mind even if it is theatrical.
Selection 5: Chocolat by Joanne Harris
If only for the fact that the book has numerous descriptions of chocolate, which clearly means you should be eating it while reading, this is a wonderful story. It centers around Vianne Roche who arrives at the tiny French town of Lansquenet, to a quaint community of God-fearing townsfolk. Vianne and her amazing, almost magical abilities to create chocolate delights starts to tempt the town into more rambunctious activities, and soon there is an all-out war; township moderation at Lent vs. Vianne’s little Chocolate Shop. The story is about family, and changing ideologies, and aesthetic pleasure, and …..CHOCOLATE. If for nothing more than to read the book, watch the film and eat the food, this is one to snuggle into on a cold winter’s day.
The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story by Marie Kondō
This is interesting as a read. It crosses the boundaries of graphic novel, fiction work with self-help tendencies. It is the story of a busy executive woman, Chaiki, who receives a complaint from a neighbor about her messy apartment. Determined to fix the problem, Chaiki hires Kondo and is taught a valuable lesson about finding sacred space in the home to create happiness in her life. Lovers of tidying and organizing will get something from this and it is interesting to see how chaos in one area of your personal life can filter to other areas too.
Selection 7: One by Kathyrn Otoshi
Okay, go with me on this one. I know that this is a children’s book but did I say there were limits to this reading challenge? No, is the answer, I did not. I say, if you love reading children’s books, then read them. This is a gorgeous one. It’s about navigating tricky relationships and standing up for yourself, and not letting others get you down. It’s a great book for children, but there are many, many, many adults whom I have met who could do with this ‘back to the basics’ read on this very subject.
Selection 8: Reinventing Myself by Sonya Green
This is also one of the first ‘self-help-find-your-joy’ books that I read. And it is really relatable. Readers will identify with Sonya’s story, she has experience to back up her words, and it is a great reminder to practice gratitude and find joy in the smallest of things. It offers some good, practical advice and is worth a looksie.
Selection 9: The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama always produces profound works with an insight into the everyday struggles of life met with the abundance of power, light and joy that life has to offer. He is always a laughing, smiling happy person and it exudes from this magnificent work. This was one that I read years ago, and yet it is as true for me today as it was when I first picked it up. A definite addition to your read list.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
Once again, you probably know of the film featuring Reese Witherspoon and a missing shoe. But the book, in my humble opinion, is more insightful. It features the story of Cheryl’s trek on the trail with a beautiful personal story and a journey of happiness and healing. This is witty, at times sad, at times suspenseful and page turning.
So there you have it, ten of my recommended reads to help you find love, joy, gratitude and spiritual health in your own life. If you have any to offer, feel free to comment, I know there are so many more that have helped so many people in different ways. Hopefully, these will not be a waste of your time, but rather point you in the right direction of using your time well, even if it is to toast a ‘here hold my beer’ moment.