Brought To Book by Brenda Hodgson
That’s the question I found myself pondering
recently, after yet another book-inspired light-bulb moment that prompted me to
consider books and magazine articles that have proved to be significant
‘milestones’ in my life, and how they have come to be in my hands.
I have been an avid reader all my life. You could say
that books are my ‘go to’ resource or therapy, whether for information or
inspiration, education or entertainment. But there have been some, especially
over the last 30 years or so, that just stand out as having helped to shape and
develop my life (both business and personal) and my spiritual journey.
The early 1990s found me running my own PR business
and, keen to make the business a success, I had become somewhat of a
self-development/business development book ‘junkie’. Wandering around a large
book shop, looking for yet another such book, I remembered a television
programme about a Scottish motivational speaker, and had a vague recollection
that his name was Jack Black. I looked more closely at the shelves and, yes,
there it was – MindStore by Jack Black.
What I read within its pages about goal setting and personal development really
struck a chord in me – perhaps because I’m a bit of a rebel at heart. Black
suggests that the old received wisdom of SMART goal setting doesn’t work
because it’s too restrictive and small – thinking big stretches the imagination
and powers the dream. He teaches a visualisation technique that helps motivate
the dream. One thing I read in particular really blew me away – Black says
‘Never ask HOW?’ He explains that if the dream/goal is big enough and you want
it enough the ‘how’ will manifest itself. (Much in the same way that if you
want a red BMW, then you start seeing them everywhere.) I had always struggled
with the fact that when I told people about things I wanted to do (or, in some
cases, not do), I was always asked why? and how? It made me squirm because I
couldn’t explain – I just knew in my gut that it was right for me. So, over the
years, for the benefit of others, I had learned to fabricate ‘reasons’ that
supported my gut feel. Now, here I was being told I didn’t have to do that. At
last, I had ‘permission’ to go with my own flow. I embraced it wholeheartedly.
I attended several MindStore personal and business development courses over the
next few years and use the goal setting and other techniques I learned to this
I’m not quite sure when the shift from purely
personal and business development onto a more holistic and spiritual path
actually occurred, although I had always believed in natural remedies and
alternative therapies and I had developed a fascination with crystals, feng
shui, pendulum dowsing and holistic therapies.
I think it probably received a major nudge forward around the time of my
60th birthday, when I was given a gift voucher for a reflexology
treatment, which led to my continuing with regular treatments and also to
delving deeper into matters holistic and spiritual. My reading and visits to
holistic fairs now reflected this newly deepened interest.
Fast-forward several years: I came across a magazine
article by Anna-Louise Haigh about
face-reading, which I found fascinating. Then followed a series of
synchronicities: I discovered that she is based in Harrogate and that she would
be at an up-coming holistic fair that I had already planned to attend giving
mini face-readings. I had my face-reading and picked up some flyers, one of
which was for a weekend retreat in Glastonbury, exactly what I had been looking
for. A few months later Anna-Louise was the speaker at a local Mind Body Spirit
group, and I asked her to put me on her waiting list for the retreat. Thus
began a series of retreats, workshops and courses (including Face Reading),
which further enhanced my meditation/visualisation techniques and my spiritual
development. I made lasting bonds with several fellow ‘retreaters’ and am
privileged to have found a good friend in Anna-Louise.
I grew to feel comfortable in my own skin and with
just being ‘who I am’, and I began to work on shifting from a work/life balance
to more of a life/work balance. I had a particular desire to spend more time
painting and do more freelance writing for magazines.
Two years ago, Every
Breath You Take by Rose Elliot was brought to my attention. I had seen
reviews of this book in other magazines and then it popped up in Cygnus Review.
When something keeps ‘popping up’ at me in this way (or it may include personal
recommendations), I tend to take it as a signal/message that I need to read it.
As always, the timing was perfect. I had just started to read it when my
husband was rushed to hospital with a perforated ulcer and internal bleeding.
He was subsequently in hospital for four and half weeks, followed by four weeks
in rehabilitation. Reading this book during the long waiting periods while he
was undergoing various procedures and while taking coffee breaks during
visiting, and using the Buddhist mindful breathing techniques described really
helped me to stay calm during this challenging period. In fact, it was so
successful that on one occasion when my husband unexpectedly required another
procedure, he told the nurses there was no need to ring me, I would be coming in
that afternoon, and ‘anyway, nothing fazes her’!
Finally, we come to the book that triggered this
whole musing about how books come to us at the right time; and this one took a
whole lot longer to ‘break through’. The
Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has been in my consciousness for over 20
years but I had generally felt that it was ‘not for me’. Then, in December last
year, finding myself time rich and cash poor after a magazine I was writing for
decided to take all their features writing in-house, I wondered if now was the
time to put the spotlight on my desire to pursue art and writing. Suddenly, The
Artist’s Way started ‘popping up’ all over the place. Still not convinced it
was the right book for me, I decided to get it from the library. I read it straight
through – and then I bought my own copy! The aim of the book is to help people
overcome their creative blocks. I wasn’t so much blocked as in need of a change
of perception – a ‘mind-shift’, if you will; so it was not until Chapter Five
that I started getting those light-bulb moments – ‘OMG! that’s what I do!’ In
short, what this book has done for me is helped me give myself ‘permission’ to
raise my artwork and unpaid writing up to ‘day job’ status, rather than just a
‘nice to do’ activity. As a result, I’ve started painting again and I’m paying
more attention to my writing and the collection of blogs I set up at the end of
The mind-shift I’ve been working towards is now
actually under way. I suddenly realised that what the Universe has been doing
is not giving me less and less cash to manage on but clearing more and more
space in time so that I have no more excuses/reasons not to paint and write.
But it took a book that I had ignored for over 20 years to open my eyes.
If you come across a book that seems to be trying to attract your attention in some way, I encourage you to be guided by your intuition and explore it further. It may hold just the message, inspiration or guidance you need at that moment; or it may simply give you a break from the more mundane aspects of day-to-day living by entertaining you for an hour or two. You can always ‘try before you buy’ by visiting your local library; it’s like a great free bookshop – only you don’t get to keep the book! If the book is telling you it’s a ‘must have’, then you are more than likely to find it in Cygnus Review’s extensive catalogue.
Brenda Hodgson is a freelance features writer and runs her own PR business, Blackwood Communications (email@example.com). She has had paintings selected for several local Open Art Exhibitions over the past few years, and her artwork, which is inspired by ideas that come through meditation, visualisation, music and dreams, is featured on her Facebook Page HeartArt by Brenda. Brenda also writes three blogs – Brenda’s Bubble, The Butterfly’s Blog and Fairytales, Fantasies & Fables – which she has put together in a collection on Facebook at Brenda’s Little Box of Blogs.
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Brought To Book by Brenda Hodgson