Tag Archives: nonfiction

248.4 T, “Tales of a Magic Monastery”

27 Jun

295807 Over the weekend I met a man who was in the process of becoming a monk. He had applied to be a monk at one monastery but had not made it through the admittance process and so he went to another monastery and was accepted to begin there. The man talked a lot about what it would mean to be a monk and about all of the different parts of the monastery: the rooms, the country, the grounds, even the library. While he was talking I found myself thinking of my limited experience with monks. I’ve never known any monks. I’ve only ever met a friar, Brother Ed, who was a teacher in my high school. But that’s far from the same thing as a monk.

I found myself thinking of Thomas Merton and of the Monks of New Skete and I finally found my mind wandering to a book I read many years ago after discovering it on the bookshelf of a friend, “Tales of a Magic Monastery” by Theophane the Monk. Like many books like this I try to pray and meditate on a question or worry that is heavy on my heart. So yesterday I decided to read this lovely book again.

Much like Jesus, Fr. Theophane uses parable and story to teach. I am always drawn to works like these which ignite something in me. I remember reading some of the stories and having a really deep thought or thinking “YES!” And reading this book yesterday I recognized the stories but this time reading didn’t have the same reactions. And I had so many God moments reading this book, thinking so often, yes, I get it! I get! God I get it!

I hope I get it at least.

Most of the stories involve an interaction with a monk. A person attending a retreat asking the monk for guidance or simply a monk interacting with another monk. Some of the stories are fantastical and others allegory. Some a few pages in length others just a paragraph.

My favorite is when the Buddha visits and writes trivia all over the walls and the monk realizes that to be a real Christian you must go into the heart of Jesus. That all of the things we remember and all of the pieces of “trivia” are secondary to being close to God. I like that a lot and I think it’s a good reminder.

This is a little new agey so I won’t recommend this to everyone but I think it’s worth a look and worth a read to anyone looking for some thought provoking words. I always feels moved when reading this book and always feel my heart being guided to some stories more than others.

 

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BIO POEHLER

26 May

yespleasepoehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler was one of those delightful surprises you didn’t know you had surprised yourself with until you’re in the middle of it and you can’t go back to better appreciate this gift you’ve given yourself.

I have heard from lots of friends that I “absolutely had to” read this book. So I resisted, naturally. Working as a librarian I come in contact with the “IT” books all the time. You know the ones…..the books that everyone is reading right now. The book everyone is talking about. And because I’ve worked in libraries for so long I’ve learned to discern between “popular” and “good.” Some books are popular, entertaining but not really anything important. Other books are popular, life-changing, and entertaining. And even fewer still are popular, meaningful, life-changing, and full of depth and understanding of the human condition.

So when I kept hearing about this book I made the assumption that it was just popular and entertaining.

I was so, so wrong.

First things first: I read this book as an audiobook from Audible. I checked it out from the library with every intention of reading this book with my eyes instead of my ears but life being what it is, I had to listen to it.

Amy Poehler’s narration was beautiful. I loved hearing her speak her words and it gave me the sense that she’s a natural writer. Some writers don’t read their words very well as if the way they write is at odds with their true inner voice. That’s not true with Poehler. It feels like her written words are complementary to her inner voice and I love that about her.

This book came out around the time I had heard about her divorce from her husband so I had worried this was a “divorce book.” But it wasn’t. Poehler takes time to speak about her painful divorce but she doesn’t dwell on it and the reader and the book are better for it. Poehler’s love for her boys is contagious and made me want children of my own as soon as possible and her devotion to her craft was inspiring. It made me want to quit everything and write my book and do all of the things i’ve always dreamed about doing.

Poehler asks us to be kind to ourselves. To be patient and loving with ourselves. This is a book to read at any moment in your life: a happy time, a sad time, a time of transition, a time of utter boredom. For any moment. I am so glad that I was invited into Poehler’s life for just a little while and so glad she shared my commute with me for awhile.

 

“Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.”
Amy Poehler, Yes Please