Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Lately I feel as though I have gotten wrapped up with routine, normalcy, stagnation-nation. Life is at a stand still and I have lost sight what it means to be a free spirit, a go-with-the-flow kind of girl. Where did I slip in betweent the lines? Unfortunately, it happens all to easily.

I have been loving the Buddhist philosopher/author Thich Nhat Hanh for quite some time now. And although I am not Buddhist, I do find myself drawn to their way of life and how they see the world. I usually turn to his work in times when I need advice, motivation or a wake-up call that hits you like a ton of bricks (in a good way... if that is at all possible).

One of my favorite books of his is called You Are Here. It is all about learning how to live in the now and embrace the present moment... something I am trying to work on. Life is too precious. I don't want to let it pass me by. I want to make the most of every moment. I want to rejoice in the sun, the rain and the snow because they are reminders of how good God truly is.

Here is a passage (it's rather long, sorry) that I felt to be particularly enlightening.

"Albert Camus, in his novel The Stranger, used the term "the moment of awareness." When the protagonist of the novel, Meursault, learns he is going to be executed for the murder he has committed, anxiety, fear, and anger are born on him. In despair, he is lying on his prison bed looking at the ceiling when, for the first time, he sees the square of blue sky through the skylight. The sky is so blue- it's the first time in his life that he has gotten deeply in touch with the blue sky. He has already lived for decades without ever really seeing the blue sky. Perhaps he has looked at the sky from time to time, but he has not seen it in a deep way. Now, three days before his death, he is able to touch the blue sky in a deep way. The moment of awareness has manifested.

Meursault decides to live every minute he has left fully and deeply. Here is a prisoner who is practicing deep meditation. He lives his last three days in his cell within that square of blue sky. That is his freedom. On the afternoon of the last day, a Catholic priest comes to Meursault's prison cell to give him the last rites, but Meursault refuses. He doesn't want to waste the few hours left to him talking to the priest, and he doesn't let him come in. He says, 'The priest is living like a dead man. He is not living like me, I am truly alive.'

Maybe we too are living like dead people. We move about life in our own corpse because we are not touching life in depth. We live a kind of artificial life, with lots of plans, lots of worries and anger. Never are we able to establish ourselves in the here and now and live our lives deeply. We have to wake up! We have to make it possible for the moment of awareness to manifest. This is the practice that will save us- this is the revolution."

I need a revolution.

This can be a reminder to us all not to wait until it is too late. We are alive right now, we are breathing and we are healthy.. it is time to live. I can't keep focusing on the future or what tomorrow will bring. Otherwise, I will miss what magical and beautiful things are right in front of me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I decided that while I have some down time during the month of January that I am going to cram as many books into my head as possible (metaphorically speaking). I absolutely love to read yet seldomly find enough time to dedicate to a book during my busy school schedule. For Jterm this year I am only taking a 1 credit class, hence why I will have so much free time on my hands. Why not use that time to treat my mind and feed my passion?

My first book (completed in a mere 2 days) was The Art of Racing in the Rain. It was written by a local Seattle Author, Garth Stein, in 2008.

I had my eye on this book for months... but could never muster up the will to buy it. Why? I HAVE NO IDEA! It is still a mystery to me. While I was away visiting Sam's family over the holidays, I was presented with this lovely gift from his mom. She and I have traded dog books and personal stories back and forth about our faithful (& furry) companions for quite some time now.. and needless to say, she hit it spot on the nose when she got me this book.

The Art of Racing is a story about love and heartache, triumph and loss told through the mind of a dog named Enzo. Although there are some dreadfully sad parts, Enzo (& Garth Stein) balance it with some humor and wit that is sure to get your side achin'. Sometimes I would find myself crying from sadness and laughing from the cleverness at the same time. Bet you didn't think that was possible, did ya?

If you are a fan of dogs and know what a joy they bring to one's life- this is a book for you. A dog really is a man's (or woman's) best friend and this is truly represented in the Art of Racing. There is something that a canine can provide for a human unlike any other specimen. I always thought of dogs having a sixth sense, they have the ability to feel what their human companion is feeling even without being able to speak or use gestures. I vividly remember a time after I lost my cat, Chili, and how devasting it was for me, and somehow Boo knew exactly the pain I was experiencing.. and he comforted me better than any person could. Sixth sense.

This is a story that I could honestly read time and time again.. and I'm sure I will. That is why I want to share this with you- I want you to experience the same joy I got from reading it. I don't want to give any details away about this book. You simply must read it for yourself. Just prepare to get swept off your feet by the endearing and insightful Enzo. He is a dog you will never forget.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
This quote is from a time when Denny (Enzo's master) takes Enzo out for his first time on the racetrack.

"Yes, one more lap. One more lap. Forever, one more lap. I live my life for one more lap. I give my life for one more lap! Please, God, please give me one more lap!"

This is exactly how I imagine Boo and Kona reacting everytime they get their favorite treat, hotdogs.

That's all for now,
<3 J