Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Shelter of Each Other

and highly recommend it. Here are some of my favourite quotes from this wonderful book:
"Strong families have a knack for optimism, for taking long views and a "big picture" perspective. Hope is strong. They acknowledge problems and deal with them. They work through disagreements quickly and kindly and then return to a calm, peaceful state. Unhappy families do the opposite: they savour and nurse their pain and blow up small disagreements into battles. They build skyscrapers of pain on the meringues of small miseries."

oooh. isn't that just too painfully true?

Here's another doozy:
"Healthy people acknowledge pain, accept it and talk about it. Extracting meaning from pain ennobles and heals. Properly attended, pain makes people more tolerant, empathic and emotionally complex."
Such a good reminder when my children experience pain and every cell of my being wants to protect them from it!

I love this one:
"The metaphors of food, places, trips, beloved objects and beloved people become the connecting tissue of the family. They give family members' lives a context and meaning, a history and philosophy. The protective walls of a family are made of love, not stone."

This book has really cemented the importance of extended blood and chosen family for me. It's been so affirming and encouraging for me. And it's lit many fires under me. Like this one:
"We can act if we believe we can act. We can build new good things. The cure for cynicism, depression and narcissism is social action. Action solves two problems. It makes communities better and it gives people a sense of meaning and purpose. Volunteers are happy people. Work cures despair! and remember "Most of the good work in the world is done by people who weren't feeling all that well the day they did it." - Eleanor Roosevelt. Just because a person can't do everything doesn't mean he or she should do nothing."

And this quote resonated within me more than any other and is a topic I've been pondering a great deal lately:
"In the wilderness there is connection and complexity, challenge and serenity. In most of us there is a deep hunger for contact with the natural world. Everywhre people love to garden, to work with soil, to touch plants and make things grow. Gardening is healing. It's being involved with an old, old tradition, one that has always gone far beyond the practical need to grow food."
I've been really deeply noticing on a more microscopic level just lately how profoundly each of my children and myself NEED to be in nature. When we're not getting along, arguing, getting on each others' nerves (including our own) the cure is ALWAYS to go outside. Even just a few minutes outdoors, communing with the chickens, pulling a few weeds, or walking under the trees and all is right again with the world. We generally spend most of our time outdoors anyway, but on the days when we get into an inside project, sometimes we forget that we don't just need to ear and pee in the morning, we need to get outside just as much.
I'm reading a book to Annika right now that demonstrates this healing better than any thing else I've ever read:There are so many versions of this beautiful old novel, but the illustrations by Inga Moore in this one are pure magic. A horrid little girl that nobody can love spends time outdoors every day and is magically transformed. Sounds like a fairy tale but is really just a really good "how to parent" book written in beautiful language with beautiful pictures.


SRJ said...

the secret garden is my favorite book ever!

Katherine said...

Thanks for the book recommendation, Mary-Sue.

The Secret Garden is one of my favourite books and one I read aloud to my sons when they were younger. Such a great story!