The Book Fiend

a pile of booksImage by pteittinen via Flickr

When I was growing up as a youngster in New Orleans, drug addicts were referred to as “dope fiends.” Now, as a child, I really had no idea what a “dope fiend” was, but I knew what it wasn’t–a term of endearment. The reason that I am bringing this up, is because I have a confession to make. I. Am. A. Book. Fiend. There, I’ve said it, I am a book fiend.

Anyone who knows me long enough, will quickly notice one thing about me. It’s the books–they are everywhere. I blame my mother for my love of reading and curiosity. As a young girl, I remember seeing her, in a rare moment of quiet or non doing, with a paperback book in hand. Although I have absolutely no proof, I imagine her enjoying some tawdry, romance novel, as a means of escaping the gripping stress and drudgery of raising four children by her self. I suppose the paperback was her ‘calgon take me away’ moment.
For the most part, I prefer hardbacks, but of course, my ‘library’ contains a liberal numbers of paperbacks as well. The books are here, there, everywhere. Months ago, my amazing friend K. came over to help me get the disorganized organized. Knowing her as I do, I am certain that she wanted nothing more than to single-handedly haul every book that I owned to Goodwill, but good friend that she is, she choose to ignore them. 
Good luck to the person who decides to ‘figure me out’ by the books in my ‘library.’ I have books ranging from How God Changes Your Brain, to the Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism,  The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbs, The Poetry of Robert Frost, Mindfulness Yoga, Blink, The Book of Stones, The Artist’s Way, The Lives of Saints, The Tibetan Book of Death and Dying, Symbols of Catholicism, Web Design for Dummies, The Right to Write, The Color of Water, Living Deeply, Essence and Alchemy, The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy and everything in between. I love them and can’t bring myself to get rid of them–unless they are truly awful. I do pass on current fiction one-time reads so that others can enjoy them (the women in my doctor’s office loves me!).  I also donate more than a few tragic mistakes to Goodwill. With that said, it should surprise you to learn that I still have scores of books. Seriously. At this point, I can’t begin to estimate the number of books that I own, but because of a brilliant online cataloguing system, I know that it is 256 and counting. So, a while back, I began a campaign to get the books under control.  
When I first heard about the Kindle, and given my love for the good old tree guzzling book back in my youth, I thought “blasphemy.” I insisted that I’d never own one. Like a gunslinger, I am always quick to sling the word “never” and just as quick to categorize its utterance as a momentary lack in judgment. Anyway, as I was picking myself out of the avalanche of books that littered my bedroom floor, realism and idealism had a face to face, and the evil Kindle was welcomed into our home–overnight, as I recall. Gasp!
Yet,  as my mother always said, “you have to give the devil his due,” I have seen the light! I love my Kindle. I have had one for at least a year and currently, I have about 45 books on it. Its light weight, easy to use and perfect for an avid reader and chronic pain suffer–unfortunately, there are still some books that for me the digital method will not suffice. Some books hold such a place in my heart that I want that old-school book to put on my shelf (or stack on the floor somewhere) and later pass on to my children or grandchildren for them to do the same. I just can’t see doing that with a digital book. I guess that until a digital book finds a way into my heart like that, it will remain just that, an e-book, but not a treasured possession that one can truly pass on to family and friends. 
I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I will always be a book fiend. There are more worrisome “fiends” as my childhood showed. Yes, I am a book fiend. I am a book fiend. I am a book fiend. I am a book fiend, I am a book fiend. I AM a book fiend. 
P.S. I ordered a book yesterday. I needed it–really!
Blessings, Peace and Love, 
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Still learning

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 24:  Primar...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
A couple of nights ago, I was skimming through my past journal entries. I find they provide me a concrete reminder of my past thoughts, challenges, and growth over the preceding years. I usually read them with an eye towards the growth that I’ve made over the years and to glean the areas in which I need to concentrate to further my, especially, spiritual growth. Because of the events discussed after the jump, my mind settled not on the area of growth but on the fragility of life and the many things that I wished to accomplish and learn before I left this world. 

After a long period of zero energy, May 2010, brought me a most welcomed gift–an upward shift in my energy level. So, it was with gusto that I took out the camera and how-to books to teach myself photography. I also fired up the Rosetta Stone Spanish computer program to finally learn the language at the level of fluency, as I’ve always intended. Further, I even created a website of my own at I was on a roll. 

May, 28, 2010

…To another, this day may have been viewed as most unremarkable, and in fact scarcely memorable. As I love to tell everyone who will listen, I am not like everyone else, and to me, this day is notable and will be remembered because instead of letting life pass me by, I joined in my life–with a gusto.  For the past 2-3 weeks, I’ve accomplished tasks that had gone undone, some as long as a year, but most for 3-6 months. It is irrelevant that I have been physically unable to do them, because for now the sense of accomplishment is palpable and makes me yearn for more. 

June 1, 2010

Good morning sunshine. Positive thinking is queen and I have to drop kick the negative out and welcome the positive in. I realize that I have a choice, succumb to the negative or embrace the positive where healing can and will happen. Much like Michelangelo’s belief   that “every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it,” I believe that there is a healthier “me” waiting to be set free….God look down on me and protect me tonight.

 He did. I am still here. 

On June 2, 2010, my doctor sent me to the emergency room because of increased difficulty in breathing and pains in my chest. I figured maybe pneumonia; in reality, I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism in each lung. Yep, just like that, my world changed. 

I am back to pre-May energy levels, that is, not much. Yet, I find that I am learning more then ever. For starters, since the embolism, I started this blog–something that I’ve longed to do.  In fact, my “things to do” list has grown exponentially since June 2nd, and in spite of a lack of energy, I whittle away at it almost every day.  As Michelangelo so aptly put it, “I am still learning,” and that means that I am still very much alive.  Blessings and love,

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The Guest House

The Fairytale Cottages of Carmel-by-the SeaImage by linda yvonne via Flickr
Years ago, I found this poem, and it has become a favorite of mine. At the time, I found myself reading it over and over again because of the wisdom it offered me. Wisdom that I desperately needed then–and now. Perhaps, you too will find some insight into managing your own ‘guest house.’ 

The Guest House, by Rumi

This being human is a guest-house.

Every morning is a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all.

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,

Still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you 
out for some new delight.

The Dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing 
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.

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Magic Morning

Early Morning SoundImage by Kliefi via Flickr
I wrote this in the wee hours of the morn.

With the exception  of some soft music coming from the CD, and the soft songs of the wind chimes as the wind blows just right, all is quiet.  This is the quietest part of the day; although I’d prefer to spend it in dreamland like everyone else, instead of writing this entry through blurred and crossed eyes, as my body mind refuses to rest.  
In what seems like another lifetime, I would never see this hour of the day.  I was blissfully asleep and at the crack of dawn, I was up–no alarm necessary, raring to go. I particularly loved the early morning right before the sun rose.  You know that magic morning silence in your home, just before the hustle and bustle of another day begins.  Outside, the newness of the day is evident in the feel of the air, the chirping of the birds, the foraging animals, and ultimately, the first rays of sun as they shine through the crystals hung in our Eastern-facing bedroom window.
I always felt newly invigorated and ready to begin again–yesterday’s mistake gone and forgotten. Yes, as though God, in granting me this new morning, has given me a do-over to get it right this time. 
Because my sleep schedule has changed so drastically, I haven’t felt the same in such a long time and I truly miss it. The night is not mine–not when I feel fully alive and in connection with all that is. I want my mornings back, but I guess that I’ll have to start by giving in to the wonders of the night.
Blessings, peace and love,
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