Archives for September 2012

10 Steps To Finding Your Happy Place By Galen Pearl | A Book Review

I first noticed Galen Pearl through her comments on blogs that I followed, long before I reached out to meet her online at her own blog, 10 Steps To Finding Your Happy Place (And Staying There).

I suspect we find people that we need when we are ready, and not before.

Galen has now published her own book of the same name, with all proceeds going to charity.  It happens to be a charity near and dear to my own heart.  When her publisher asked me if I’d like to read and review it, I jumped at the chance to put it first in line (in spite of the fact that I have MANY books piled up here waiting for the same treatment!)

The first thing I noticed was that this book is excellent for biblomancy:  divination by means of a book, opened at random to some verse or passage, which is then interpreted.

The second thing I noticed is that it is filled with anecdotal passages that teach all of the Lessons I’ve been cobbling together for myself over the past few years about the way the Universe works, and my (your) place in it.

I carried this book around with me in my handbag for the last few weeks.  Every time I was waiting, I picked it up and let it fall open to one of the over 100 short stories, and just read wherever I fell.  Don’t you know, it always was apropos to the moment…always.

What are the ten steps?

Give Yourself Permission To Be Happy

Decide If You Want To Be Right Or Happy

Give Up The Delusion Of Control

Feel Your Feelings

Make Haste To Be Kind

Judge Not

Practice Compassion

Forgive Everyone

Develop An Attitude Of Gratitude

Be Here Now

Actually there is an 11th step but I will leave you to discover that on your own.

My favorite passage?

But maybe if I just read one more book, got to one more presentation, attend one more meditation workshop, listen to one more teacher…Maybe if I keep looking out there, I will find what I am looking for in here.  So I keep reading about meditation, about listening to my inner guidance, about forgiveness, about compassion, about being here now.  If I keep reading about, perhaps I will become

If I could just get to that darned nirvana place, my life would be so much better.  I would be calm and joyful all the time.  I would be wise.  My life would be eternally blissful.  I would never, ever be angry or judgmental or unhappy or even cranky.  I would be a better person.  A much better person.

Pema Chodron says that this way of thinking is a subtle form of aggression (sometimes not so subtle, I think).  We blame ourselves or others because of what we perceive as some lack in our own life. 

We can start by suspending our judgments long enough to get to know who we are.  Imagine that you are going out on a date with yourself.  A first date.  Imagine that you are sitting across the table from yourself at your favorite restaurant.  What would you ask yourself?  How would you answer?  Treat yourself with the same curiosity and courtesy you would give your date.

That would make a great meditation, wouldn’t it?

I love this passage because, like the rest of the book, it reads my mind.  The similarities that Galen and I experienced while living and learning our lessons are remarkable.  It shows that those of us on this planet who are lucky enough to be in a position to contemplate our own navels, over think and under feel.  It laughs at our struggles while at the same time, honoring them.  There is a reason why everything shows up as and when it does.   

10 Steps To Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a funny, sardonic, witty book with strange characters and stranger character

Want to take a huge leap forward in your understanding?  Find a compassionate friend?  Find the tiny pieces of the puzzle that you have been missing?  Challenge yourself to be completely truthful with yourself?  This is not a book about spirituality and intuition, it’s part of the story of one person who lives and breathes spirituality and intuition.  You know, most people use the Bible when practicing biblomancy.  There is a reason why Galen’s book is perfect for it, too.

Galen Pearl’s stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and A Cup of Comfort anthologies, and her popular blog, 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There), attracts thousands of readers every month. Recently retired from teaching law, she regularly leads retreats and workshops on developing habits to grow a joyful spirit. A Southern girl transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she enjoys her five kids and two grandchildren, martial arts, her cabin in the mountains, and mahjong.

All the proceeds from the book will be donated to Edwards Center, a nonprofit serving adults with developmental disabilities, including Galen’s two sons who live in one of their group homes and work at one of their sheltered work sites. Edwards Center is an amazing organization providing a wide range of services through their group homes, work sites, and alternative to employment care sites. They run a tight ship financially, meaning that over 90% of every dollar donated goes directly to client care. So buying a copy for yourself and more copies to give as gifts will make a difference to people who will directly benefit from your generosity. Galen is covering her own costs, so all proceeds will go to Edwards Center. You can find out more about Edwards Center here.

If you have ever benefited from reading A Clear Sign and you would like to give something back to me, buy this book.