Black and White Insight

Emotional Healing Through Reading
Purpose-Driven Life
I have started and stopped this book several times. Why? I don’t really know, except that I have the problem of not finishing things that I start, a problem that I am working to defeat.  Each time I begin reading this book once again, I think to myself, “Why did I ever stop reading?”  This book is amazing.  I’d like to share some of what I learned while reading this book.  Here are my insights.

The Secret Life of Bees
My counselor recommended this book to me, and I started reading it the very next day!  I trust her completely, and she said she thinks this book will help me along my journey.  I finished the book in 7 days.  The story was great, and I just couldn't put the book down.  But even more interesting was finding out why my counselor thought this book would be good for me.

To be honest, after the first few chapters I thought she was crazy to think this book would help me.  Up until the last few chapters, I just thought this book was depressing; the main character doesn't have a mother or father.  She's lost because she doesn't have parents, she is searching to find herself, to find others who will love her, which she thinks is impossible because she has never been loved before.  Then, it hit.  These are the reasons my counselor thinks me reading this book would do me some good.  I relate so much to this character - the searching, the "love struggle", not fitting in, feeling hatred and anger.  I felt changed with each page I read.  Here are my insights.

Inner Voice of Love
I don't know if I'll ever "finish" this book, in the true sense of the word. This is a very special book by an an author who was recommended to me by 3 different spiritual counselors. When the third, and current, counselor recommended this book to me, I told her how two others said the same. So, she bought us each a copy. Once I started reading it, I thought to myself, "Now this is why they thought of this book while talking to me." The book is truly a perfect fit for what I have been trying to understand and overcome.

The book is to be read slowly, one "chapter" (about a page each) at a time, with time to meditate and reflect on what you've just read. I make notes in the margins, and when I have a particularly moment of awesome reflection, I scribble in the date next to my thoughts. I think it will be neat to open up the book again at some point in the very distant future and think to myself, "I was thinking those exact thoughts on that exact day."  Reading this wonderful book opens my mind to new ways of viewing my struggles, and I definitely want to share my sentimental and personal thoughts with, here they are.

Tuesdays with Morrie
This book is absolutely amazing!  Ironically, I finished this book just a few days after my grandfather passed away - an event that solidified the concepts I read in this book.  My absolute favorite idea that Morrie expressed in this book was, "If the culture you're in doesn't work for you, if it doesn't make you feel good, then invent a new culture to follow."  I love this. 

Today's culture DOES NOT make us feel good about ourselves as individuals, as unique and authentic people.  We are taught every day through media and robots around us (people who fall for the standards of our culture) that we are not good as we are, we are not enough as the person we were born to be, the person God created us to be.  We need to be skinnier and wealthier; meanwhile, we are surrounded by fast food restaurants and 50 foot televisions, both of which take our money and our health. 

This book helped me understand the concepts of western culture and societal standards as they apply to me.  I don't have to follow what the culture says I have to follow; I don't have to follow who the culture says I need to be.  If something doesn't make me content and doesn't add simplicity and value to my life, then I don't have to be a part of it! 

So....I am inventing my own culture!  I may be the only person who is a part of this culture, but I am content with who I am, who I was born to be, who God created me to be.  I don't need a television or alcohol or a sexy man to validate the goodness inside of me.  My life will be filled with Christian friends, uplifting family members, interesting books, great music, running, and my furry best friend.  This is my culture.  And it works for me.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven
This book was a great "life lesson" type of book, with lots of really great quotes that make you think deeply, and appreciate, what life is truly all about.  Continuously throughout the book, I was captivated with the main character's thinking and constantly was referencing my own life as the story progressed.  A quick, easy read with lots of substance - I'm very glad I finally finished this book.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter
This book was fabulous, and to be honest, I was a bit sad to finish it. I became so intrigued with the characters; I just wanted the story to keep on going.  I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish a book. Much like other things in my life, I have started so many books only to leave them unfinished. The second book I read this year, Beauty Before Comfort, was one such book.

Beauty Before Comfort
I bought this book at a discount book store while staying at my great-grandmother's house one weekend when I was home from college. I was taking an English course that introduced me to the world of memoirs, so I decided to browse through the memoir section at the bookstore. Oddly enough, the memoir section was next to the erotica section, and I was totally and utterly embarrassed that someone would see me and think I was looking at those kinds of books. I stumbled upon Beauty Before Comfort, partly by accident and partly because I liked the title. I turned the book over and read the book's summary on the back. The book was a memoir written about a lady's grandmother. Since I was staying with my grandmother, I thought this book was just meant to be read by me. So I bought it, proudly showed it to my grandmother, and started reading it that day. I read a couple chapters, and never picked it up again. I'd see the book every once in a while on the shelf, and I'd get this uneasy feeling, the familiar feeling of starting something and not finishing it. When I set off on my reading journey this year, I knew I had to finish that book, and I did.

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