I’d like to think that I’m a pretty tough cookie, but in reality, I’m not. Certain types of things—terrorist attacks, school shootings, discrimination, the fact that some people go hungry while others throw food away, cruel treatment of humans or animals—these types of things go right through me; pierce me to the core.
I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I do know at least one thing—one positive action step—I can personally take to contribute to the solution. I can be kind on purpose; I can practice intentional kindness.
Baggage! We all carry it with us through life. It comes in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors—more than enough to accommodate the stuff that we accumulate through life. And no matter how we dress it up, it’s frustrating, inconvenient, and slows us down. In fact, it’s downright disruptive.
This book is about offloading emotional baggage—something that’s especially important when we realize that we don’t just pack for one; we pack for seven. Each of the seven selves—self-preservation, self-gratification, self-definition, self-acceptance, self-expression, self-reflection, and self-knowledge—has characteristics, wellness types, and shadows. Each plays a vital role in harmony, overall health, and well-being.
Chock full of real-life emotional examples, as well as “keys” at the end of each chapter offering actionable tips, techniques, and exercises designed to help you unlock baggage, examine it, and offload it permanently, Note to Self will help you discover a lighter, joy-filled you!
Here’s what two of the advance readers had to say:
“While we are all passengers on a planet called Earth, we can choose to enhance the way in which we travel: emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically. In fact, we can, through the pages of this book, discover new ways to travel that are lighter, more fluid, and life-enhancing. The author, a wise and dedicated traveler, is also the right kind of kind of guide—caring, inspiring, uplifting, knowledgeable—for your journey of self-discovery. I recommend this tremendous book to anyone seeking the companionship of good energy and joyful presence. A five-star read in every way!”
—D.A. Hickman, author of The Silence of Morning: A Memoir of Time Undone
“What a dazzling rainbow of wisdom Laurie Buchanan has assembled into one volume! Drawing on a wide range of spiritual teachers and scientific discoveries, Buchanan guides the reader on an exciting journey of self-discovery. She is a modern oracle at Delphi, and this book a modern temple with ‘Know Thyself’ written on every page. Highly recommended for daily spiritual practice (a list of 365 questions at the end will guide journal writing). Leaders of retreats, and spiritual seekers will be sharing well-thumbed, dog-eared copies soon.”
—Shirley Hershey Showalter, former president of Goshen College and author of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World
I’m looking forward to November 1, 2016—the publication date of Note to Self.
What’s the next date/event that you’re looking forward to?
When my friend, Shirley Hershey Showalter, wrote about When Breath Becomes Air in her blog post, When Time Shall Be No More: Kalanithi and Kairos, on February 10, 2016, I read it immediately following the book I was currently reading. Shirley’s wisdom and track record are such that when she recommends something, you don’t hesitate.
It’s rare that I use my blog to share about books that I’ve read. An avid reader and reviewer, I use Goodreads and Amazon for that purpose. However, I feel so strongly about When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi that I’m sharing it here.
After reading devouring the book, this is the review I posted on Goodreads and Amazon:
For over two decades a particular book held the highly coveted all-time-favorite-book place in my heart. In one fell swoop, WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR single-handedly took its place. Each word chosen with tremendous care, the writing is exquisite. A call to action, the reader can’t help but sit down and carefully examine the nooks and crannies of their essence to discover what it is—exactly—that gives their individual life meaning. A call to action, this book is going to change your life!
Rather than make New Year’s resolutions, each year I select a single word to focus on in the upcoming year. In 2013 it was Peace. In 2014, Serendipity. Last year it was Flow. In 2016 my focus word is Alliance. That said, it’s time to unveil the secret I’ve been dangling…
MY BOOK IS BEING PUBLISHED THIS FALL! Title and cover reveal coming soon
Writing the book was the easy part. Since then I’ve learned that it really does “take a village” to birth a book. From the publisher to readers, and everyone in-between: manuscript critique, copyeditor, proofreaders, legal counsel, permissions, artwork, layout/design, book trailer, publicity, marketing, printer, distribution, bookstores, event planning, and author endorsements. I’m grateful to each person as they help me navigate literary waters.
An enthusiastic proponent of affirmations, this year’s positive supporting statement—I am in alliance with experienced people who have my book’s best interest at heart—targets my focus this year.
“It is probably not love that makes the world go around, but rather those mutually supportive alliances through which partners recognize their dependence on each other for the achievement of shared and private goals.” —Fred Allen
Connecting with like-minded people heightens awareness of our inherent unity. When we’re warmly included—validated—it nurtures a warm sense of belonging; a sense that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.
There are many times in life when other people agree with our principles, beliefs, and/or choices we make. I suspect that to some degree this “sameness” strengthens our sense of validation.
However, there are times when we find ourself standing alone. Maybe we took a different stance while serving on jury duty, or in the workplace, at home or school, with family, or friends.
“Be strong enough to stand alone, be yourself enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.” — Mark Amend
A few weeks ago while out walking, we happened upon a burned out vehicle. There wasn’t any police tape indicating foul play; there was nothing about it in the newspaper or online, so we don’t have any idea how it happened.
The scene reminded me of a conversation I had with a person many years ago who opened the conversation with, “I’m burned out.” When I asked for details, she said:
“My schedule is so over-committed that I don’t have any ‘me’ time. I don’t have time to exercise, and because of time constraints, meals have become a steady stream of fast food. I’m not sleeping well so I’m physically exhausted. I can’t seem to focus at work, and my relationship is falling apart. Frankly, I’m not enjoying life anymore.”
It all boiled down to her inability to say “no.” A people pleaser, she said “yes” to everything requested of her. Quite some time ago I learned how to effectively say no with finesse from my friend and personality expert Sheila Glazov:“That does not work for me.”
The other side of the back property line where we live has what we lovingly refer to as a fence rat — a cute little dog who sticks his head under the fence and yaps every time I come or go. I tried to make friends by giving him dog biscuits. Len’s afraid his collar’s going to get caught on the bottom of the fence and he’ll be stuck there until someone comes to his rescue. “Greedy little bugger!” (referring to the dog), “See what you started?” (referring to me).
The neighboring dog reminds me of the monkey traps described in Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where certain tribes leverage the monkeys’ greed to their advantage. They hollow out a gourd, leaving the opening just large enough for a monkey’s hand to go through to reach a sweet treat. When the monkey (unaware that the vine attached to the gourd is staked to the ground out of sight) reaches in to get the treat, the opening is too small for its now-clenched fist to pass back through. Escape is entirely possible if he’ll just let go, but he won’t because he chooses to hang on to the treat. At this point the tribespeople come along and it’s easy pickings…
In the final week prior to departing our home of 20-years in Crystal Lake, Illinois, we’d almost completely packed the kitchen and ate our meals out or picnic style.
Sitting perfectly still in what seemed like tranquil meditation, an onion remained on the counter. Similar to a novice monk, it began with a tiny spark. In the onion’s case, a small green sprout at its crown. But with time and considerable growth, it leaned — with gentle ease — toward the bright, sunny kitchen window.
Have you fallen in love with yourself yet? I don’t mean like Narcissus in Greek mythology. Rather, love in the sense of full acceptance and appreciation of who you are.
It’s my perspective that the most important relationship we’ll ever have is the one with ourself. By loving and caring for ourself, we’re able to give our best to others. That’s why I carefully tend my inner-landscape; why I nurture my inner-ecology.
Gardening from the inside out — a few of my tips:
Focus on my strengths
Don’t compare myself to others
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Treat myself with respect — body, mind, and spirit
I sit at my desk, perched in front of a window, for several hours each day. Whether it’s for online client sessions (via FaceTime or Skype), writing, or dipping into various social media pools, I have the perfect vantage of a many-hundred year old oak tree and its various occupants: squirrels, chipmunks, woodpecker, and one raccoon.
In multiple hours of viewing, I’ve never — ever! — observed them go around the tree.
Clearly evidenced by their tracks in the snow, you can see prints leading up to, and away from the tree, but not a single print around the base of the tree (click on the photo to enlarge).
When they arrive at this “obstacle,” rather than go around it (skirt the issue, ignore it, or sweep it under the carpet), they go under, over, or through it to get to the other side!
When you encounter an obstacle on life’s journey, how do you get to the other side?