Friday Favorites – 9/13/2013

momentsMany years ago, sitting in a 12-Step meeting, I first heard someone say, Life is in Session. You can probably guess that it’s not a phrase to use when things are going swimmingly. It is a way of saying that adversity is a part of living and that we can deal with it better if we just accept that fact. I haven’t made it a secret that Life is in Session right now for Older Eyes. In spite of the Serenity Prayer, I find adversities over which I have no power the most difficult, especially when they tear at my heart. In addition to dealing with one of those, I’ve been beset by a flurry of small setbacks … a broken tooth, swallowing a piece of cellophane then throwing out my back while choking on it, a short in the wiring of our house … each of which is fixable given money and patience, but each of which makes it harder to keep the gloom at bay. Last night, I found out that a mentor and friend from graduate school has passed away. Maybe it’s appropriate that on Friday the 13th, I post about a book on living life to the fullest, even when it’s in session.

Over twenty years ago, in a similarly difficult time, I found a book by Dan MIllman, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Dan Millman was a world class gymnast who was going through a life crisis while attending U.C. Berkeley. One night he walked into a gas station near the campus and met Socrates, who turned out to be a mystic of sorts. Socrates taught Millman The Way of the Peaceful Warrior and rescued his life. The story included instances of magic and mysticism that flew in the face of science but the substance of the lessons made a great deal of sense to me. I chose to see The Way as a fable** with valuable lessons. I later found Millman’s third book, No Ordinary Moments – A Peaceful Warrior’s Guide to Daily Life.

The title of the book comes from an exercise given to Millman by Socrates, to go sit on a stone in the yard until he has something of value to say. After being turned away by Socrates multiple time, Millman finally comes up with: There are no ordinary moments. The book expanded on the lessons of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior without the tales of magic to distress my Inner Skeptic. Chapters like When the Going Gets Tough, Getting Real, and The Will to Change pack more lessons for liviing mindfully per page than any other book I’ve read, so I won’t even attempt to summarize. It is not an easy book … it talks about reality and consequences and learning from adversity … but it is powerful in that it teaches us to turn our intentions into action, our challenges into strength, and our life experiences into wisdom. And in the end, it is about leading a less complicated happier life.

So here I am on Friday, sitting in the park starting again into my Friday Favorite, No Ordinary Moments. Anyone care to join me?

** Millman has since described his book as part fable, too, teaching lessons he’s learned traveling the world and studying spiritual principles.

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5 Comments on “Friday Favorites – 9/13/2013”

  1. territerri Says:

    I clicked your link to The Way of the Peaceful Warrior and checked out a preview of the book. It reminds me a bit of Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. I’ll add both books to my to-read list.

    I hope the difficulties you’re experiencing ease up soon. Good for you for finding ways to deal with this stuff without letting it take you over.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I would definitely recommend No Ordinary Moments over Peaceful Warrior. We will probably be dealing with fallout for quite a long time but we have very little influence over the outcome.

  2. granny1947 Says:

    Methinks you are taking life too seriously!!!

  3. Yep -Life certainly is in session! We may not always like those “sessions” but in retrospect, we learn they actually were important and had a lot of value to offer to us in learning good coping skills, if nothing else! Peace.

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