Better Life Book Review: A Little Book About Something Much Bigger

Hello, Better Lifers! Well, here comes another “first” for me – I’ve been asked to write a book review, which I present below. First, a little background . . .

In my About page, on the eve of my blog launch, I commented, “Although I won’t talk much about God here, spirituality is an important part of my life. My faith has deepened throughout this journey, and my soul thrives in this serene environment.” Over the next few weeks in the life of my new blog, I proceeded to write – with great response from readers – about spear-fishing, making my favorite hogfish dinner, differences before and after my island move, random bits about island life and other island-living posts. A month later, inspired by a morning devotional I’d read, I posted something a bit different – my thoughts about following my “inner nudgings” with a broad nod of appreciation to God/Spirit/Universe. The positive response to that little post overwhelmed me. It was my most popular post! Go figure.

Of the many readers who contacted me, one in particular struck up an online conversation with me. This lovely woman named Lois seemed to share a similar philosophy of life, and she conveyed her appreciation for Choosing The Better Life. Eventually, Lois stepped out a bit further, and asked if I’d be interested in reading a new eBook that she and her best friend, Victoria, had just published about making time for the connection to self and Spirit each day – and then writing a book review.

Hmmm, I certainly hadn’t anticipated this direction when I started the blog. However, I was interested in reading their book anyway. Moreover, I decided that I’d better follow my own advice to pay attention when opportunities cross our paths, and this was certainly a new type of opportunity for me. So, I told Lois that I’d be happy to read their book and would consider writing a review if I was still comfortable with the idea after reading their book.

Fast forward to present . . . I have since read their little book, and it is a delight. Without reservation, I offer Choosing The Better Life’s first book review!

ALITTLE BOOK ABOUT SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER:

The Gift of a Spiritual Practice.  

 By Victoria Cryder and Lois Hughes

Our Book

“You had me at ‘Hello.’” You know that now-classic line from Jerry Maguire?  Well, that’s how I felt upon reading the very first line of this little book. Even before the Table of Contents, the authors set the stage with an introductory quote from Henry David Thoreau, “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” It just grabbed me. Certainly, I could relate to that. Of course, not everybody has to hit rock bottom in order to turn their lives around, but, especially as I’ve found through conversations with others about their own version of Choosing The Better Life, dark times often serve as a catalyst for change.

As I turned the page to the first chapter, the introductory quote to that chapter grabbed me again, “Turning points announce themselves through a variety of vague symptoms:  deep restlessness, a yearning with no name, inexplicable boredom, the feeling of being stuck.” (Gloria Karpinski)  Ahhh, yes, those subtle feelings surely resonate with so many people. But how many of us are able to recognize them as turning point opportunities?

I continued to read and to recognize so much of myself in the authors’ comments and observations – I felt like they were talking to me! The ultimate point of the book is the authors’ successful attempt to condense and share from a multitude of resources specific techniques that we can use to create a spiritual practice and incorporate it into our daily lives. As Lois and Victoria wisely state, “This isn’t an overnight process, but more of a piecing together of little ‘aha’ moments that, in time, become something much bigger.”

The authors present six chapters, each with a specific theme and tangible suggestions of what to do to incorporate the principles into our daily lives. To put it all in context, Lois and Victoria bravely share their own stories with us. Throughout, I found myself identifying with these lovely women who write comfortably, as though they were chatting with you over a cup of coffee. They conclude each chapter with brief lists (you know how I love lists!) of suggested exercises and ways to create new habits.

As with Choosing The Better Life, you’ll recognize in their book an overarching theme of gratitude as a basis for how we live our lives. “By appreciating what we have, even when we’re struggling, we open the door to joy, abundance and peace . . . Many of us are used to seeing what we don’t, rather than what we do, have in life. In doing so, we hold ourselves back from seeing the abundance that is already present – and we hold ourselves back from creating more.”

The authors also do a wonderful job of tackling the concept of prayer, which, in my opinion, is a tricky topic because so many people have such strong and/or preconceived notions about prayer. For me, Lois and Victoria nailed it. They outline my own evolution of thinking about prayer. They describe prayer just as I have experienced it – especially in times of despair and in how to identify the answers to our prayers – and they explain how we can use prayer effectively in everyday life. Victoria and Lois emphasize that prayer is available to each person in their own way – “It means different things for different people, but for us prayer is an open and heartfelt conversation with God” – and they offer suggestions for how to tap into it.

Additionally, Lois and Victoria describe how to simplify our cluttered lives and quiet our minds. They write about how to find clarity. Oh, if I could have read that section (indeed, the whole book) a few years ago! In a very bad place and time in my life, I was stuck on “what to do.” In this confused state, I prayed for months simply for “clarity.” Eventually, I figured it out – finally seeing what had been before me all along – but what a difficult, drawn-out process! Lois and Victoria point to an easier way and reminded me, “Pay attention to what’s in your heart, not in your mind. Be honest with yourself and go deep . . . It’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed and frightened as clarity is gained and what’s been buried rises to the surface.” With their confident, supportive tone, the authors assure us that if we continue on that path, it will get better. And it does!

As the book nears its end, Lois and Victoria conclude, “Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a huge epiphany. Although this happens for some, it’s more of a small series of moments that moves you into your higher self.” That’s how it started for me, and now, as I now continue down this road, I’ll put to use what I’ve learned from this book. Echoing my own philosophy from a recent post about not being a Pollyanna, the authors point out that “life will continue to show up and present challenges. But you’ll notice a difference in the manner in which you react to these situations. You’ll handle what comes your way with a new trust and understanding – and an awareness that all is unfolding as it should. As the challenges arise, you’ll now meet them with a new grace and ease.”

The book is “a little book” indeed. It will not bog you down in length or style of writing. Rather, it is a delightful, uplifting, quick read – one that I found myself going back to at different times, re-reading and re-visiting parts, using it as a toolbox as the authors intended it to be. The book is well-written, organized and concise. It is heartfelt and wise, helpful without condescension, and supportive of readers at all points on our respective journeys. I loved how Lois and Victoria synthesized so much material into a simple approach combining it all. Their approach is accessible to every person, regardless of religious affiliation and regardless of whether you are brand-new to the ideas presented or have already started down a spiritual path. As the authors write, “Begin where you are now.”

Lois and Victoria are warm and wise women. Best of all, these two friends are simply “regular” women, balancing marriages, children, houses, finances, self-image, activities and the hectic pace of life. They get it. They are relatable people. They have figured it out for themselves, and now they are generous in sharing what they’ve learned for the benefit of the rest of us.  Already trying to choose a Better Life for myself each and every day, I learned new techniques, gleaned new insight and am refreshed and inspired again by this book. Thank you, Lois and Victoria!

Victoria Cryder

Victoria Cryder

Lois Hughes

Lois Hughes

You can learn more about A Little Book About and its authors on their blog(www.alittlebookabout.blogspot.com) and Twitter (@LittleBookAbout).

Note: the author of this book review – ummm, that’d be me – received no compensation for this review, other than a complimentary copy of the e-book in advance.

6 Responses to Better Life Book Review: A Little Book About Something Much Bigger

Please leave a comment here. I'd love to hear from you!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. I'll protect your privacy!

Categories