Friday, July 17, 2009

Dewey and Me - a Book Review

"Find your place. Be happy with what you have. Treat everyone well. Live a good life. It isn't about material things; it's about love. And you can never anticipate love."

That, according to his Best Friend Vicki Myron, sums up the life philosophy of Dewey Readmore Books, the official cat of the municipal library in Spencer, Iowa. I had to quote Dewey because his philosophy and mine match so perfectly, if we had met I know we'd be best friends.

When I was a teenager, I asked my parents if I'd been adopted. They were shocked and surprised (and perhaps, after second thoughts, they wondered if someone had mixed up the babies in the hospital.) I never marched in step with my family, even when it looked like I was doing so, the inner me was in full-throttle rebellion. So even though I was not adopted, I identified immediately with Dewey, who was abandoned in a book drop one freezing cold Iowa night.

Dewey: the Small-town Library Cat Who Touched the World is not only about Dewey. It is about Vicki and her family, the Jipsons, and about the town of Spencer. Dewey struggles but remains loving and faithful to his duties and his loved ones all of his days, and the same might be said of the author and her town. They all surpass their beginnings and reach beyond their potential, over-comers and overachievers every one.

If you are looking for a true story that will make you laugh, make you cry and make you feel better about yourself, your life and your future, I recommend Dewey, a five hankie - er, I mean five star book that is sure to please even the curmudgeonly reader, much as the eponymous cat won over the patrons of the library.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

and Speaking of Happiness...

It is wonderful how once something grabs my attention, I start stumbling over it everywhere I look. Remember when you bought a new car, and suddenly you were seeing that model all over the place? What is marvelous is how our unconscious brain works so hard to give us what we ask for.

So now that I'm seeking to give my life a happiness tune-up, I find the elements of my research every day, even when I'm looking at other things.

I was on the Forward Motion writers forum yesterday, and there was a discussion of flow.

I was reading a political blog this morning, and there was a discussion of forgiveness.

At that point I tripped over the mother lode of happiness tune-ups at the Happiness Project Toolbox.

I'm s l o w l y working my through The Rough Guide to Happiness by Dr. Nick Baylis - slow because I need to meditate on the points he makes and connect them to my own life and decide how to implement them.

It is O.K. to be happy, and to want happiness. Happiness is not self-indulgence or narcissism, or ignoring the needy world. Happiness is not synonymous with pleasure, and wanting to be happy is not being a pleasure-seeker. Somewhere in my Calvinist background ancestors, I think happiness got a bad reputation. Let me be very plain: happiness is not "un-Christian" and it is not selfish.

I wish you a truly happy day, engaged with your inner self, and the people and the world around you. I hope you find something to do where you enter flow, and that you savor it later.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pesky Inner Child

"Oh look - the pool's open!"
"Nothin' to do with us."
"But, but - I want to go swimming!"
"Too cold."
"See, there's people in the pool."
"We AREN'T going swimming."
"They're having fun."
"No."
"Remember floating in sunshine?"
"Can't go. We'd look silly in a swim suit."
"No one will notice us."
"It's too cold for swimming."
"Not anymore. Today will be 89F."
"All right. You win. We'll go this afternoon while everyone's at work."

My inner child skips in a circle chanting, "We're going swimming."
I mutter, "All our flab will show, and all the wrinkles and liver spots - "
"But it will be FUN!" chortles my inner child.

I smile.